People are being warned to avoid ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’ as giant specimens appear around Leeds

A warning has been issued to people as ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’ appears across the nation.

The Giant Hogweed plant, which has the potential to cause blindness, has been spotted in areas all around Leeds.

The huge beast can grow to five metres (15ft) in height with large jagged leaves, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

A new interactive map has been created by WhatShed to track where the invasive specimen has been spotted.

A map of Giant Hogweed around Leeds. Credit: WhatShed

In Leeds, it’s been reported along the banks of the River Aire in the city centre, but a huge concentration of the plants are lining the river to the south-east, around Knowsthorpe.

The sap from a Giant Hogweed can cause photodermatitis or photosensitivity, meaning the skin can’t protect itself from sunlight.

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It can lead to blistering, pigmentation and scarring, and could leave you blind if it makes contact with the eyes.

It can also affect dogs, as well as humans – so pet owners are advised to keep dogs on leads in areas where the plant has been spotted.

Giant Hogweed. Credit: Geograph

The fast-growing plant grows best in moist fertile areas, often near waterways.

It’s similar in appearance to the harmless cow parsley, but grows much bigger.

You can identify Giant Hogweed by its thick, bristly stems which often have purple splotches, and its enormous height.

If you come across it, you should avoid contact with any part of the plant.

Featured image: Geograph

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