The hotspots of a highly toxic plant that causes severe burns have been identified on a map.

Giant hogweed has been reported in a number of areas across Wiltshire.

The dangerous plant is now in season and if not removed, it can reach over 3m (10ft) in height.

Although it can look rather attractive, giant hogweed is potentially harmful.

As explained by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), chemicals in the sap can cause photodermatitis or photosensitivity, where the skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight and may suffer blistering, pigmentation and long-lasting scars. 

Where is giant hogweed?

Officially known as Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed can usually be found in woodland, river banks, parks and nature reserves.

The RHS also says that areas affected can include “gardens and allotments adjacent to infected woodland, healthland or common land”.

In 2014, the toxic plant invaded the banks of the Avon Water.

Landowners and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust worked together to stop it spreading.

More recently, the nasty plant has been identified in areas around Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon.

In south Wiltshire, a hotspot has been located by Amesbury Road in the Bulford area.

Salisbury Journal:

You can see exactly where the plant was reported here.

'Do not touch it'

Due to the danger posed by the plant, Mini First Aid has issued a warning.

In a Facebook post, they said: "Now is the season for 'Britain's most dangerous plant' and with the lovely weather forecast in a couple of weeks time, this stuff will thrive and spread.

"All parents, please warn your children not to touch the plant as the leaves, stems, roots, flowers and seeds all contain this terrible poisonous toxin.

"Any parts of the body that come into contact with the sap of a giant hogweed should be immediately washed with soap and cold water and seek medical advice.

"Further exposure to sunlight should be avoided for at least 48 hours."

How to spot it

The Woodland Trust outlines the appearance of giant hogweed so that you can better identify the dangerous plant.

- Stems: the stems are green with purple blotches and stiff, white hairs. The stems are hollow with ridges and a thick circle of hair at the base of each leaf stalk

- Leaves: the leaves are huge, and can measure up to 1.5m wide and 3m long, and are often divided into smaller leaflets. The Woodland Trust compares them to rhubarb leaves, with irregular and jagged edges, with the underside of the leaf being described as hairy

- Flowers: the flowers of the giant hogweed appear in June and July, and are small and white and appear in clusters on “umbrella-like heads” that face upwards

- Seeds: the seeds are dry, flattened and an oval shape, almost 1cm long and tan in colour with brown lines

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