Resurgence of dangerous Giant Hogweed at Faughan

editorial image

A concerned Faughan angler has warned there’s been a worrying resurgence in the invasive alien, Giant Hogweed, along the banks of the popular salmon river whilst expressing concern that local children or fisherfolk are in danger of suffering burns from the plant’s corrosive sap.

The fisherman, who has noticed significant new growths of the dangerous weed at the Drumahoe Bridge, at Gorticross and at Mobuoy, says he wants those with statutory or landownership responsibility to take action to get rid of the dangerous pest before someone is badly burned.

“This has been a disaster pending when first sightings above Ardmore at Craig Hole, were apparent some four years ago but went unreported,” the angler, who asked not to be named, said.

He said more attention may have been paid to other invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam, which also thrive in the same riverside habitats. But he says these weeds are far less dangerous to humans than the weed from the Caucasus.

If the sap of the plant comes into contact with your skin, for example, it can cause severe, painful burns and make your skin sensitive to strong sunlight.

The concerned angler said he noticed a few examples of the plant on the Mobuoy side of the ‘Stab Hole’ last year and that two specimens on the Ardlough Road were also destroyed in 2015.

“However the weed has struck back with a vengeance: the first sighting immediately above the Drumahoe Bridge on the Tullyally side is in full flower. Then a recent fishing trip to the Ardlough Road side this week, having been denied access due to road works since the beginning of the season, revealed a severe outbreak on the Gorticross side on the lands of the notorious Mobuoy dump.”

He said action needs to be taken by whoever is responsible to rid the banks of the Faughan of “a dangerous and invasive species that is already out of control.”

“Given the incessant ducking of responsibility that occurs in such situations no doubt the weedy situation will be kicked around. Meanwhile the invasion continues and no doubt some unfortunate angler or child will be stung with very distressing and dangerous consequences to their health,” he said.

If you touch a Giant Hogweed, cover the area, and wash it with soap and water. The blisters heal slowly and can develop into phytophotodermatitis, a type of skin rash which flares up in sunlight. If you feel unwell after contact with Giant Hogweed, speak to your doctor.