Mom’s stark warning as ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’ means son needs plastic surgery

Her 12-year-old son was completely unaware of his injuries until he woke up the next morning to find a sore burn on his hand before being taken to the emergency room

A mother has issued an alarming warning after her son was left with raw burns from a plant believed to be giant hogweed
Kimberley Walker thinks her son brushed a poisonous giant hogweed plant

A concerned mother has issued a stark warning after ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’ required her son to undergo urgent plastic surgery.

The youngster was completely unaware of his injuries until he woke up to find a sore burn on his hand.

Mum Kimberley Walker, 48, believes her son brushed the poisonous giant hogweed plant after he was allowed to leave his school grounds to retrieve a football in Leek, Staffordshire.

After waking up with burns, she took her 12-year-old son to the emergency room but says she was first told the burn was due to a “hives”.

Since then, three more burns have appeared on her son’s face and he is now being treated by a plastic surgeon at Royal Stoke University Hospital. StokeonTrentLive reports.

Kimberley is now speaking out to raise awareness of the dangers of the seemingly harmless plant, which causes reactions when it comes in contact with human skin.

Giant hogweed has been described as Britain’s most dangerous plant


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“My son came home from school [at St Edward’s Church of England Academy] about seven weeks ago with a mark on his hand that looked like an oven burn,” she said. “I asked him what it was, but he didn’t know how he did it.

“I took him to the emergency room and they said he had a nettle sting. But I didn’t understand how he could burn his hand on a nettle.

“We’ve been treating it ever since and he still has a scar on his hand now. Then last Thursday he went to bed and when he got up on Friday morning he had two burns on his cheek.

“I asked him what he did, but he didn’t know what caused it. He went to school and then at 11 a.m. I got a call from the school that the burns had doubled in size.”

Kimberley took her son to his GP for a 45-minute consultation.

She then received an alarming phone call that evening, telling her to take him to the Royal Stoke as the giant bearweed burns “can leave scars and cause blindness”.

She added: “I had a call from the doctor. He said he spoke to a colleague at the Royal Stoke who works in plastic surgery and the burns can scar and cause blindness.

The sap of the plant can cause severe skin burns


“We went to the plastic surgeon last Tuesday and he thinks one of the burns will heal but another is deeper. He bandaged the burns and gave us an ointment to apply twice a day and we have to go back this week.

“Then last Wednesday I had another call from school saying my son had redness under his eye. When we got up the next morning there was another burn just below his eye.

“We now have to wait until we see the plastic surgeon this week. You don’t know if he will have permanent scars.

“He needs to cover up the burns when he’s outside as they are sensitive to light and can continue to develop.”

Kimberley says she was shocked to discover a giant hogweed, described as Britain’s most dangerous plant, had caused the injuries as she had never heard of it.

She added: “I was just shocked because I had never heard of it and I didn’t think a weed could burn. I didn’t know that one plant could do so much damage.

“I was also upset because his hand is a thing and it’s still scarred seven weeks later but the other burns are on his face. They’re a different ball game and we don’t know if he’s scarred long or why.

“I’m trying to raise awareness because nobody seems to know what it is.”

Kimberley says she reported the giant hogweed to both the school and Staffordshire County Council. She says the school no longer allows children to go off-campus to get soccer balls.

Kimberley added: “My son plays football in the schoolyard. The teachers had opened the gate for the kids to get the ball when he was kicked out.

“But unbeknownst to them, the Giant Bear Claw is there. When my son went to pick up the football, he brushed the leaves onto his cheek and the back of his hand. It has been identified as Giant Bear Claw. Now keep the gate closed.”

The Mirror has reached out to St Edward’s Church of England Academy for a statement.

Staffordshire County Council told StokeonTrentLive that the giant hogweed is on private land.

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