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Poisonous plants invade island

10 July 06 20:40 GMT

Manx residents are being urged to keep an eye out for a poisonous plant which is invading parts of the island.

Giant hogweed contains a sap which can cause blistering to the skin and is also damaging to the environment.

By shading out native vegetation, the plant can leave banks bare and prone to erosion in the winter if dense colonies are allowed to form.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is urging anyone who spots the plant to get in touch.

Like many invasive plants causing problems in the British Isles, giant hogweed was originally imported as a garden ornamental.

It easily colonises waste-ground and can spread rapidly along watercourses, as the thousands of seeds produced can be transported in water.

Small hairs

River Management Officer Karen Galtress said: "If you have giant hogweed on your land, you are legally obliged, under the Injurious Weeds Act 1957, to control it."

However, people should be extremely careful when removing it as the small hairs on the plants' stems and leaves can penetrate light fabrics and contain poisonous sap, which irritates and causes painful blistering 24-48 hours after exposure.

Anyone who accidentally comes into contact with the sap should cover their skin immediately to avoid exposure to sunlight and once indoors, wash it thoroughly with soap and water.

To find out the best way to remove the plant, contact the DAFF on 01624 842335.

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