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Other Invasive Weeds

Giant hogweed

Giant Hogweed stand

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is one of the largest herbaceous plants in this country and certainly one of the most harmful to human health. It is invasive, producing thousands of seeds from each plant. Its size makes it particularly attractive to children to play around, leading to severe burn injuries every year.


Common ragwort

Ragwort in flower

Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is an emotive subject, especially among horse owners. It is a commonly held belief that common ragwort is the most frequent cause of animal poisoning in the UK, though such a claim has never been proven. What cannot be denied is the toxicity of ragwort and the devastating effect it can have on any susceptible animal that ingests it.


Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam in flower

Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) grows in dense colonies and thrives in moist environments. It is most often found along rivers, streams, lakes and in damp woodland environments. It dominates any area where it becomes established and can be responsible for riverbank erosion during the winter when the plants die off. This can have a detrimental knock-on effect on various aspects of riparian ecology. It is also highly attractive to pollinating insects, usually to the detriment of surrounding competing species.


Field horsetail

Field horsetail in early stage

Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) – the scourge of the allotment owner – is often referred to erroneously as mare’s tail. It is a relatively slow-spreading species. However, once it has become established, it forms dense colonies and can prove to be almost impossible to get rid of. It is an extremely old species, dating back millions of years, and is descended from a group of tree-like plants that grew back in the Carboniferous period (around 300 million years ago).



Mature buddleia

Buddleia is a popular ornamental plant to be found in many gardens. Often hailed as a boon to the environment, buddleia has a dark side. It is highly invasive, destructive to the built environment and not nearly as beneficial to butterflies as some imagine.

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