Giant Hogweed

It has come to our attention that there is an infestation of Giant Hogweed at Ratho. This invasive species is dangerous to humans since the plant produces phytotoxic sap. The sap contains photosensitizing furanocoumarins, which in contact with human skin and combined with UV radiation cause skin burnings. The intensity of the reaction depends on individual sensitivity but can be incredibly painful and leave long lasting scars.

Further general information about Giant Hogweed can be found here, including a gallery of photos to help identification of these very distinctive plants. 

Scottish Canals’ recommendation is to avoid all contact with the plants and/or their sap to eliminate any potential Health & Safety risk as well as reporting it to them. They are aware that it is to be found in 1 location in Glasgow and 3 locations on Union Canal (Hermiston, Ratho and Meggetland). They also monitor other known locations of Giant Hogweed growth outside their land boundary to check for potential new invasions their land. The danger to human health complicates eradication efforts.

In order to control this plant, SC’s management approach is:-

  1. All occurrences are mapped and shared with our vegetation management contractor.
  2. Where new sightings are reported by Staff or the General public via the  or social media channels we make arrangements for it to be managed by staff/contractors either with herbicide treatment or by safe physical removal depending on the location and stage of growth.
  3. Early removal of plants prevents spread and reduces the impact on native plants and animals in the canal corridor.