Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
This summer there was a dramatic increase in the amount of Giant Hogweed growing in the Medway catchment. There were a number of very large plants on the River Beult at Yalding, more especially on the downstream section.
The plants can grow to over 5m in height with hollow stems several inches thick. They are one of the first plants to appear in spring and have large, bright green leaves with jagged, spiky ends. The stem is bristly with red blotches. Contact with the plant’s sap can cause serious burns when the affected area is exposed to the sun.
If you are affected, wash the skin immediately and seek medical advice. The plants at Yalding were sprayed by the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership which is sponsored by Kent CC, Maidstone BC, Tonbridge & Malling BC and the Environment Agency. With this sponsorship the MVCP undertake an annual spay throughout the Medway catchment and the Society would like to express its gratitude for their Giant Hogweed Control Programme.