Toxic plant found on Eastbourne stretch of A27

Several toxic giant hogweed plants have been discovered growing on a layby on the A27 bypass near Eastbourne.

The fast growing plant, a close relative of cow parsley, contains chemicals which prevent the body from protecting itself from UV light and can lead to severe burns.

The area, on the stretch of road between Eastbourne and Pevensey, has been cordoned off by the Highways Agency.

The discovery follows a warning for people to be extra vigilant after a number of reports of the toxic giant hogweed across the UK in the last couple of weeks.

Guy Barter of the Royal Horticultural Society said, “Wherever you live in the UK, you can expect to encounter this plant.”

Giant hogweed It has thick bristly stems and can reach more than 3m (10ft) in height.

The flowers are white and held in flat-topped clusters that can be as large as 60cm (2ft) across.

Giant hogweed was originally brought to Britain from Central Asia in 1893 and now commonly grows on riverbanks and wasteland.

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