Have you ever heard of giant hogweed? No? Well, you'd probably recognize this plant if you saw it. Belonging to the same family as parsley, carrot, cumin, or coriander, this plant is beauty may entice you into picking it up... but don't let it charm you. The giant hogweed is an invasive plant and it can cause serious burns.
According to UK woodland conservation charity The Woodland Trust:
In short - the sap of giant hogweed can cause burns. It contains furocoumarin, which makes skin extremely sensitive to sunlight (phytophotodermatitis). If the sap gets onto your skin, then you are exposed to sun, your skin can blister badly and blistering can recur over months and even years. This is known as phytotoxicity.
Should you come into contact with this plant, it is advised to go see a doctor immediately.
Claire Hardwick, mother of two from Lancaster, can attest to this after going through her heartbreaking incident. Following her three-month baby girl touching the plant, she was rushed to A&E. Her older sister, Lexi, innocently put the plant's flowers on her sister's feet and hands. But when the baby touched her face, she was severely burned within 24 hours.
Claire warned parents:
This plant looks so pretty, but it is lethal. Please, do not let your kids pick it. I did not have a clue a plant could do that to your skin, and such a nice-looking plant as well - who would have thought it could be so dangerous. I felt so guilty when I realised what had caused Lottie's burns - it's every mum's worst nightmare. Lexi is old enough to understand and feels awful too, because she knows she put the flowers there.
Doctors were able to treat the burns but couldn't ensure that her face will make it without any scars. They revealed the reaction was much worse because the baby was so young, and her skin is still very delicate.
Fingers crossed she was a speedy recovery.