We have received reports that a local boy received severe blisters from touching the sap of a Giant Hogweed plant, a non-native, highly-invasive and toxic weed. Please see the ‘Scots warned of the dangers of giant hogweed‘ article on the NatureScot website. Around Stewarton, Giant Hogweed is mainly found in proximity to the Clerkland Burn and Annick Water but can also be encountered in other areas where the seed will have been carried by the wind. A single Giant Hogweed plant can easily produce tens of thousands seeds and these can remain viable for several years, so it is an extremely difficult weed to control. If in doubt about any plants at the side of woodland or riverside paths, steer clear, and do not touch. A photo of the distinctive leaves and stems of a typical Giant Hogweed plant is shown below. If left untreated, it can grow to a height of 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) or more.