Invasive plant species are non-native plants that have been introduced from outside the UK, and can be highly destructive within the ecosystems in which they inhabit, whilst some are also hazardous to human health, inclusive of Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Aside from the ecological cost, invasive species also cost the UK economy in excess of £1.7 billion per year.
At Tyrer Ecological Consultants Ltd, we are able to provide comprehensive surveys for all invasive plant species notified under Schedule 9 (Part II) Wildlife and Countryside Act, including some of the most commonly known species such as Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria japonica), Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).
Further information regarding some of these invasive species:
Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) was introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant in the mid nineteenth century. It is a clump forming perennial weed typically found growing on riverbanks, roadsides, derelict wasteland and areas of disturbed soil. Its root system is extremely vigorous and can cause structural damage; furthermore, it can penetrate hard surfaces such as tarmac and has been known to penetrate through the foundations of houses. It often overtakes and replaces the native flora. It is illegal to cause the spread of this plant to new areas.
Himalayan or Indian Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a native of the western Himalayas that was first introduced into Britain in 1839. Since then the plant has escaped into the wild and has rapidly colonised river banks and other areas of damp ground, it grows in dense stands, suppressing the growth of native vegetation, and dies back in winter leaving river banks bare and liable to erosion.
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) was introduced to the UK in the late nineteenth century as an ornamental plant. It is a perennial which is widespread in the UK, and typically found growing on riverbanks and areas of derelict wasteland. The plant is characterised by its size and can grow up to 5m tall with leaves up to 1m across. Growth starts in March and the plant can take 4 years to mature and flower. Each plant can produce several thousand seeds, which remain viable for up to 15 years. The seeds may be dispersed by wind or water and may be carried on footwear, vehicles, or in contaminated soil. Because of its size and invasive nature, the plant can out compete native plant species.
Giant Hogweed is also a potential danger to public health with the possibility of painful blistering and severe skin irritation from touching the poisonous sap found in hairs on the stems, edges and undersides of the leaves.
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Tyrer Ecological Consultants
Formby Business Centre
42 Duke Street, Formby
Liverpool, L37 4AT