‘Aggressive’ plant seen near river can cause blindness and burns

Giant hogweed seen by the side of a river behind Horbury Junction Industrial Estate.
Giant hogweed seen by the side of a river behind Horbury Junction Industrial Estate.

A toxic plant has been seen on the side of a river in Horbury.

Giant Hogweed, an invasive plant which originates in Russia and Georgia, can cause severe burns and blindness

Mike Guest spotted the dangerous plant on a cycle path behind the Horbury Junction Industrial Estate last month.

He recognised the dangerous plant after seeing warning posters while cycling along the Leeds Aire Canal.

He said: “I’ve seen pictures of it before. Some of the smaller plants that are growing are right at the side of the path, if dogs or kids get them those could cause horrific burns.

“There’s probably 10 or 12 of them down the side but in the corner there looks to be hundreds of them.”

Giant Hogweed has thick, bristly stems with purple markings. It typically grows to be around 2 metres tall and has white clusters of flowers.

Glynn Humphries, service director environment and streetscene at Wakefield Council, said a team had been to treat the outbreak.

He said: “Giant Hogweed is an invasive weed, known for growing swiftly and aggressively and the land which is owned by the council in this area is sprayed to keep outbreaks at bay.

“The giant hogweed along this footpath has germinated from the giant hogweed on the islands and banks of the river which passes through that area which fall under the responsibility of the Environment Agency/The Canal and River Trust.”

Contact Wakefield Council on 0345 8 506 506.”