Giant Hogweed

This evening I am reporting on an aspect of Scotland’s flora, in particular an invasive, non-native plant known as Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which originates from Southern Russia and Georgia.

This plant colonise riverbanks, grows to about twelve feet in height and damages native wildlife by dominating sites and shading out vegetation. The sap of the plant can cause serious burns when in contact with the skin.

A potential natural, non-chemical solution has been found in the form of sheep of which there are some 6.8m in Scotland. Trials have showed that sheep suffer no ill effects from the sap and actually develop a taste for the plant.

A trial is underway to ascertain if grazing by sheep represents a cost-effective option for controlling the pest.

Giant Hogweed plant at Rouken Glen, Glasgow.

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