‘Most dangerous’ weeds to avoid – ‘causes damage to your property’

The Most Dangerous Plants & Animals in the UK

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With the changing weather climates and seasons, various plants bloom, grow and spread, there may be some seriously dangerous plants ahead. Many of these weeds may look like plants growing beside others and, due to their colours and how they can blend in. Many people take no real notice of them nor do they appreciate or understand what they really have on their property or in their garden beside their family and pets.

Invasive weed specialists at KleerKut said: “Here are 10 of the most dangerous and invasive weeds that are found around the UK today that will require weed removal and treatment.”

1. Giant hogweed

Giant hogweed is a plant in the Apiaceae family. This family includes some well-known plants such as parsley, carrot, parsnip, cumin and coriander.

Giant hogweed looks like an enormous cow parsley plant. When it’s fully grown, it can reach towering heights of between 1.5m to five metres and have a spread of between one and two metres. It forms a rosette of jagged, lobed leaves in the first year before sending up a flower spike in the second year and then setting seed.

However the experts warned that it is a “highly invasive plant, damaging to both the health of humans and animals”. They added: “It is commonly found along the banks of rivers and sources of water where it can grow out of control, overshadowing other plants and wildlife – killing them off in the process. 

“It produces a phototoxic sap which causes injury upon contact with results including burns, blisters, scarring and leaving disfiguring marks upon a persons, body hands and face as well as affecting animals and pets.”

2. Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed is a highly invasive and resilient weed that can cause damage to your property and lower the value of your home. The specialists explained: “The killer of gardens, this plant can grow at an alarming rate and also go undetected, remaining dormant for long periods of time. 

“However, when it grows, it can pass through concrete, building foundations, electrical cabling and piping – causing vast amounts of damage to homes and properties throughout the UK.”

3. Himalayan balsam 

Himalayan balsam is an attractive looking flower, with a stout, hollow stem, trumpet shaped pink/white flowers and elliptical shaped green leaves. It grows in dense stands and can be up to two metres tall. It has an explosive seed capsule, which scatters seeds over a distance of up to seven metres.

The pros warned this is a “very invasive, non-native plant which is illegal to grow or cause the growth of”. They explained: “Even if you accidentally cause this plant to grow you could face criminal charges. It is illegal to move soil which contains its seeds and accidentally spread them and its growth. So expert advice should be your first port of call.”

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4. Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane species plants typically have hooded white or purple flowers. As a consequence of the plant’s great height, it has restrictive use in the garden, typically being grown at the back of borders.

While these plants may look “harmless” the experts warned of the dangers of having this plant in gardens. They said: “Many people overlook them and see them as a nice colourful plant to have around their garden. People also plant them unaware of the dangers – but this family of weed plantation are all poisonous! While actual cases of poisoning are rare, many people are unaware of the silent hazard waiting in their garden.”

5. Horsetail 

This weed can grow up to 1.5 meters deep into the ground and can “grow out of control quickly”, according to the pros. They said: “It will re-grow and regenerate very quickly if broken or damaged, making it a nightmare for farmers, gardeners and property owners. This poisonous weed is highly dangerous to grazing farm animals and plantations.”

6. Himalayan knotweed

This particular member of the Polygonaceae family is often mistaken for Japanese Knotweed, which is why experience, expert analysis and identification is necessary in order to carry out the proper and most effective treatments and control measures, said the experts.

They added: “This weed should be controlled in the same way and its characteristics of fast growing and effects on plants and grounds around it are similar.”

7. Hedge bindweed

Hedge bindweed is a perennial weed that can become a persistent problem in gardens. It’s fast-growing with slender, twining stems and large white trumpet flowers.

The pros described it as: “An aggressive climbing weed which can grow up to three meters in height. It also grows amongst other plants and trees, making it difficult to treat and remove without damaging other plants and garden life around it.”

8. Common ragwort

This particular weed spreads via the wind, making it a difficult one to deal with as growth and spread can be unpredictable and quick. 

The experts warned: “Ragwort contains toxic alkaloids which are poisonous to various degrees towards grazing animals and pets. Their seeds can remain active for up to 15 years once carried by the wind, giving you some idea of how long an infestation of this particular weed could last, grow and spread if not dealt with professionally and efficiently.”

9. Hairy bittercress

A common weed to find in gardens across the UK, this weed reproduces and grows continuously by its seed pods firing and covering across a large area when the flowering process takes place. This means it can spread across a large area of your property very quickly without your noticing, so it’s best to get this dealt with promptly.

10. Deadly nightshade

As the name suggests this plant is very poisonous, it’s common in central and eastern England but some cases have been discovered throughout the UK in less common areas. So, it’s always worth getting an expert’s opinion and analysis. 

A shrubby looking weed with purple bell shaped flowers that grow from it. The specialists warned: “Poisoning from this particular plant can cause you to experience; dilated pupils, loss of balance and can lead to hallucinations and convulsions.”

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