A resident believes toxic plants which can cause massive blisters and ulcers are growing in Oldham.

Giant Hogweed can also cause blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes.

One Shaw resident believes he has spotted the dangerous plant growing in certain areas and is warning people of the damage they can do.

Ged Longdon, 29, regularly walks around Shaw and says he has seen the plant growing in George's Playing Fields, at the Shaw Quarry and close to Shaw and Crompton tram station.

He said: "It's spreading rapidly all across Shaw.

"It seems to be really rife at the moment."

Ged explained he has started to see the plant appearing over the last two weeks having not seen it in previous years.

He wants to warn people about how dangerous the plant, which he says many people call "the blister plant", can be.

He has urged people to be wary of it and to keep their pets away from any hogweed they see.

What is Giant Hogweed and is it dangerous?

Giant Hogweed, also known by its Latin name Heracleum Mantegazzianum, originated in Southern Russia and Georgia.

The plant is part of the Apiaceae family, which includes well-known vegetables and herbs like parsley, carrot, parsnip and coriander.

Giant Hogweed was introduced to Britain and Europe in the 19th century, from the Caucasus Mountains.

The earliest documented reference to the plant has been traced back to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Seed List of 1817, where seeds of the plant were listed.

The plant itself can reach over 10ft in height and, according to The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): “most gardeners will want to eradicate it, as it is potentially invasive and the sap can cause severe skin burns”.

The sap contains a chemical called furocoumarin which makes the skin sensitive to the sun, which can cause bad blistering. The blistering can even recur over the span of months, and even years.

What does Giant Hogweed look like?

The Oldham Times: Giant Hogweed growing in ShawGiant Hogweed growing in Shaw

The Woodland Trust outlines the appearance of Giant Hogweed so that you can better identify the dangerous plant.

Stems: the stems are green with purple blotches and stiff, white hairs. The stems are hollow with ridges and a thick circle of hair at the base of each leaf stalk

Leaves: the leaves are huge, and can measure up to 1.5m wide and 3m long, and are often divided into smaller leaflets. The Woodland Trust compares them to rhubarb leaves, with irregular and jagged edges, with the underside of the leaf being described as hairy

Flowers: the flowers of the Giant Hogweed appear in June and July, and are small and white and appear in clusters on “umbrella-like heads” that face upwards

Seeds: the seeds are dry, flattened and an oval shape, almost 1cm long and tan in colour with brown lines

The Oldham Times:

How to treat Giant Hogweed burns?

If you accidentally get Giant Hogweed sap on your skin, Healthline says that you should wash the area with mild soap and cool water as quickly as possible.

You should keep the skin covered when you’re outside to protect it from the sunlight.

If a rash or blister begins to form, you should seek medical attention. Your treatment will depend on how severe your reaction is.

“Skin irritation that’s caught early might be treated with a steroid cream and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, to relieve pain,” Healthline explains.

The Oldham Times:

It adds: “Severe burns could require surgery to graft new skin over the damaged skin.”

Healthline also explains that the Giant Hogweed sap can damage more than just your skin - if the sap gets in your eyes, you can experience either temporary or permanent blindness. Similarly, breathing in sap particles can result in respiratory problems.

Oldham Council was contacted for the story.