Biodiversity – Plants that Harm

Do you know about INNS – no not places to eat and drink – Invasive Non-Native Species?

The plants we are most likely to encounter in Hyndburn are: –

  • Himalayan Balsam – Well established and extremely invasive. Found at moist and semi-shaded places, waste ground, and thin woodlands; but particularly on soft banks by slow-moving water along canal sides, streams and rivers. When it is ripe each plant explodes and can eject as many as 800 seeds for a distance of up to 7 metres.
  • Japanese Knotweed is a weed, mainly in urban areas where plants regrowing from rhizomes can come up through gaps in flooring in conservatories and patios. Its habitats are urban areas, by water courses, canals and on waste ground. It occasionally invades woodland.   There is legislation in place that makes its eradication a legal requirement.
  • Giant Hogweed is widespread and it is a plant that can harm both humans and dogs. It is especially abundant by streams and rivers, but also occurs widely on waste ground and in rough pastures. The plant produces phytotoxic sap which in contact with human skin and combined with UV radiation causes skin burnings. It can harm dogs via nose, eyes and ears.  The intensity of the reaction depends on individual sensitivity.  DO NOT TOUCH IT.

 What can you do?

Make a record of the location and take photos when you are out walking.  Then you can join INNS Mapper and record all your sitings. https://ywt-data.org/inns-mapper/.

You will be contributing to a huge UK database and this helps organisations such as the Ribble Rivers Trust that works to improve, protect and promote the River Ribble and its catchment area for both people and wildlife.  As well as the Ribble they look after the Calder, Hodder, Darwen, and Douglas sub-catchment.

This means that they not only look after all these rivers, but all the rivers, streams, and becks that flow into them which includes the Hyndburn.  They are able to apply for funding to deal with invasive species if they have enough evidence of problems in the catchment area.  Your recorded evidence counts!

In spring 2021 a new project ‘INNS Free Rivers’ will be launched!

This project aims to tackle invasive species, including Giant Hogweed to make our rivers safer and more natural spaces for everyone.  INNS Free Rivers will bring together landowners (who are responsible for controlling invasive species), local councils, supporters, and the public.

      Giant Hogweed     

Himalayan Balsam – Giant Hogweed & Warning.  All images – Japanese Knotweed – “Crown Copyright 2009” GBNNSS

Biodiversity – Plants that Harm
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