Each plant produces about 50, 000 winged seeds that can float through the air for up to three days before settling in the soil, where they can last up to 15 years. Mature plants can reach up to five meters in height and 1.5 metres in width.
Originally from China, Giant Hogweed was brought to British Columbia as a garden ornamental, but has since become a toxic hazard in many areas of the province. Infestation was thought to be minimized to the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, and central to southern Vancouver Island but reports of growth elsewhere such as the Sheridan Lake area are increasing.
The toxic sap located in the leaves and stems can cause burns and blistering, discoloration and scarring once in contact with the skin and exposed to sunlight.
If you spot this species anywhere, please report it to the Report-a-Weed program.
WorkSafeBC has issued a toxic plant warning and produced a video for public awareness on identification, precautions, and removal guidelines.
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