Giant nut: be careful with burns caused by the poisonous plant

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Its appearance is impressive and therefore particularly attractive to children. It is not for nothing that the giant sow is also called the perennial Hercules. The giant nut’s stem is up to a few centimeters thick at the bottom and hollow in the middle. It is slightly hairy and has red/dark spots. Depending on the climate, annual plants reach a meter in height by early May. Other plants have little chance of growing in the shade. Biennial plants can reach a height of up to three meters when fully grown in late June. The white flowers appear from July to September and can reach 50 centimeters in width. A plant’s umbels can have up to 80,000 individual flowers that produce up to 30,000 seeds.

Giant nut – immigrants from the Caucasus

The giant sow is undemanding and can handle almost all soils – except acidic environments. It blooms only in sunny locations but also survives in shady locations. The giant nut originally comes from the Caucasus. In the post-war decades, it was often sown as an ornamental plant in home gardens – although it is extremely questionable. On the one hand, it displaces other plant species and, on the other hand, contact with the giant nut is extremely dangerous.

What happens if you touch a giant nut?

Children, in particular, should be protected from the plant because all parts of the plant contain the toxin furocuramine. It happens repeatedly that children unsuspectingly pick up the meter-high plant and play with it, for example, using the stem or hiding under the plants. The result of contact is burns or chemical-type skin reactions, often associated with large blisters and, above all, intense pain. Wounds heal very slowly and can leave not only scars but also pigmentation.

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