Warning as toxic giant hogweed is found in Kirkstall


A West Leeds environmental project has issued a warning after Giant Hogweed found just off Kirkstall Road, near the River Aire.

giant hogweed

The Incredible Edible Kirkstall Facebook page posted images of the hogweed, whose sap contains toxic chemicals which can cause nasty blistering.

The page, run by Kirkstall resident Paul Long, advises in a post:

“If you do come in contact with the sap cover it ASAP from the sun light and seek medical attention.

“The urban legend is that back in the Victorian times kids used to play out in nature down by the rivers / cannals and used to come home with blisters around their lips and mouth then after some investigation they found out that kids were using the stems of this plant as a pea shooter & the sap when it came into contact with sun light caused this.

“There are many conservation groups that try to tackle this inc other invasive species such as himalayan balsam for more info why not join us on one of our walks.”

Growing up to five metres tall, the Giant Hogweed’s sap contains toxic chemicals which react with light when in contact with human skin, causing blistering within 48 hours.

Mr Long, meanwhile, is hoping to raise money for charity by kayaking the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and wild camping along the way. He added:

“I thought this would also be a great opportunity to help raise money for a local charity and invite others to join me on this great adventure.”

He hopes to do the kayak in spring next year. More details by e-mailing incrediblekirkstall@gmail.com.


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