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Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:28 UK
Dangerous Giant Hogweed plant found growing in Stroud

Giant Hogweed (Photo: Duncan Revell)
Giant hogweed can cause long-term skin damage to humans

A dangerous plant has been found growing on one of Stroud's public green spaces.

The giant hogweed plant has been discovered in an area of The Long Ground off Cainscross Road.

The area has now been fenced-off whilst specialist advice is taken for its safe and effective removal.

Stroud Town Council has issued a warning to be on the lookout for the plant, which has also been reported at nearby Stratford Park.

"This is the first time we've found this plant on one of our sites," said town Clerk Sue Creswick.

"The Painswick Stream runs through The Long Ground and we believe it has arrived from water borne seeds.

"There have been reports of the plant further up the river at Pitchcombe and we would urge all landowners to ensure its safe removal before it becomes a real problem."

Severe blistering

The giant hogweed stands up to five metres tall, with coffee-table sized leaves and giant flower heads.

They spread only by seed, but each individual can bear up to 80,000 seeds, making them very successful propagators.

It was introduced by Victorians as a spectacular addition to their gardens.

However its sap causes severe blistering on contact with a person's skin followed by exposure to sunlight.

People are advised not to touch the plant.

Mostly found along river banks, landowners have a legal responsibility to prevent the spread of this plant, to protect the public from exposure to it and dispose of it correctly.

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