Heracleum mantegazzianum is a native of the Caucasus Mountains but was introduced to the UK by plant collectors during the 19th century. Its impressive size (it can reach 23m) and striking appearance meant that it found a home in gardens throughout Europe, the USA and Canada. Each plant is capable of producing up to 100,000 seeds that can remain viable for years and it is now regarded as an invasive species. It has phototoxic sap which can cause blistering and scarring when affected skin is exposed to sunlight, or blindness if it gets into eyes. Consequently it is against the law in the UK and some other countries to deliberately cultivate it and the authorities try to eradicate it wherever possible. This clump has now been reported to Ealing Council.
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