Darren Adam is Leading Britain's Conversation.
27 June 2017, 15:30
A plant that causes huge blisters just by touching it is flourishing in Britain because of the heatwave.
Giant hogweed, or Haracleum mantegazzanium, grows by rivers and burns skin when it is touched.
Earlier this week, huge hogweed plants were reported in School Lane, near Abberton Reservoir a few miles from Colchester.
And experts warn that the heatwave will have caused the plant to flourish.
In 2015, Ann Quinlan walked past the giant hogweed plants at Forty Hall in Enfield, north London and later that evening, felt a tingling in her leg. She was then rushed to hospital early the next morning when she woke in agony with huge blisters the size of fists on her thigh and lower leg. The imaage above shows her blisters.
Chemicals in the plant cause photodermatitis, which makes the skin especially sensitive to sunlight. This means you can suffer serious sunburn, blistering and long-lasting scars.
Just brushing against or touching the plant is enough to release the sap and the burns start within 24 hours.
If the sap comes into contact with the eyes, it can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Anyone who touches the weed should wash the area with soap and water, then cover it up to stop it reacting to sunlight.