Fears boy may be ‘permanently scarred’ by burn from ‘UK’s most dangerous plant’

Estimated read time 3 min read


When Kimberley Walker’s son, who she asked to remain anonymous, came into contact with the toxic Giant Hogweed plant, he suffered a mark on his hand. He was unaware how it got there but, overnight, more marks appears all over the youngster’s face, so his mum took him to A&E.

Doctors identified the burns as those caused by the Giant Hogweed – a tall, herbaceous flowering plant which often blossoms in June and July in the UK.

Kimberley, who first thought her son had sustained a “nettle sting”, wants to warn others about the dangers of the Giant Hogweed, which causes an unpleasant reaction when it comes into contact with human skin.

The 48-year-old mum told Stoke-on-Trent Live: “I asked what he’d been doing, but he didn’t know what was causing them.

“He had a mark on his hand which looked like a burn from an oven. I asked him what it was, but he didn’t know how he’d done it.

“I took him to A&E and they said he’d got a nettle sting. But I didn’t understand how he could burn his hand from a nettle.

“We went to see the plastic surgeon last Tuesday and he thinks that one of the burns will heal, but another one is deeper. He dressed the burns and gave us an ointment to put on twice a day and we’ve got to go back this week.

“We’ve now got to wait until we see the plastic surgeon this week.

“He’s got to keep the burns covered up when he’s outside as they’re photo-sensitive and can keep developing.”

But the boy, from Leek, Staffordshire, may be permanently scarred.

His mother had never heard of the plant until this irksome experience.

She continued: “I was just shocked because I’d never even heard of it and I didn’t think a weed could burn. I didn’t realise a plant could cause so much damage.

“I was also upset because his hand is one thing, and it’s still scarred seven weeks later, but the other burns are on his face. They are a different ball game and we don’t know if he’ll be scarred or for how long.

“I’m trying to raise awareness because nobody seems to know what it is.”

Dubbed “Britain’s most dangerous plant” earlier this year, the Giant Hogweed is often found along hedgerows in the UK.

It’s a parsley-like plant, part of the Apiaceae family which also includes carrot, parsnip, cumin and coriander.

It continuously grows and purple and white hairs develop on its thick stem.


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