It was introduced by Victorians as a spectacular addition to their gardens. However its sap causes severe blistering on contact with a person’s skin followed by exposure to sunlight. People are advised not to touch the plant.
An area of The Long Ground off Cainscross Road has been fenced-off whilst specialist advice is taken for its safe and effective removal.
Mostly found along river banks, landowners have a legal responsibility to prevent the spread of this plant, to protect the public from exposure to it and dispose of it correctly. They spread only by seed, but each individual can bear up to 80,000 seeds, making them very successful propagators.
Town Clerk Sue Creswick said: “This is the first time we’ve found this plant on one of our sites. The Painswick Stream runs through The Long Ground and we believe it has arrived from water borne seeds. There have been reports of the plant further up the river at Pitchcombe and we would urge all landowners to ensure its safe removal before it becomes a real problem.”
The plant has also been reported at nearby Stratford Park which also has the Painswick Stream running through it.
Article added 22 June 2010
Picture by Andy Read