Giant and Dangerous!

Giant hogweed is a harmful invasive plant that exists in a few managed locations in Stanley Park. The fast-growing perennial can grow to almost 3 metres tall, and has a “phototoxic” sap that can cause burns, blisters, or scarring on the skin, and even blindness when in contact with the eyes.

ISCMV staffer stands next to the hogweed plant discovered in Stanley Park (Photo: Kari Pocock/SPES)

Giant hogweed removed from Stanley Park (Photo: Kari Pocock/SPES)

A single giant hogweed plant can produce 50,000 – 100,000 seeds in a single season, and a seed bank can remain viable in the soil for up to 15 years. So, it’s important that we remove these plants as soon as we discover them in the Park to control their spread.

Seed head of giant hogweed (Photo: Kari Pocock/SPES)

A few giant hogweed plants had grown quickly in a location south west of Lost Lagoon along the cycling path, and SPES and our partners at the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver flagged them off and removed them this past June. (Photos: Kari Pocock/SPES)

If you think you have been in contact with giant hogweed, cover the affected area from sun or daylight and immediately wash thoroughly with soap and water. Keep out of the sun and consult a physician if a rash appears within a few days. If sap becomes in contact with the eyes, flush thoroughly with water, stay away from sunlight, and consult a physician. For any questions or concerns about giant hogweed, please get in touch with the ISCMV by following this link: http://iscmv.ca/index.php/contact

Droplets of toxic sap glisten under the leaf of the hogweed plant recently removed from Stanley Park (Photo: Kari Pocock/SPES)

 

By Kari Pocock, Stewardship Coordinator