A stretch of embankment on the eastbound entry slip road at junction twenty six at Bradford has been roped off and warning signs put up after the plant Giant Hogweed was found there.
It can grow up to twenty feet tall and the sap of the weed contains toxic chemicals which, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness.
Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.
It was introduced to Europe and the United Kingdom in the late nineteenth century as an ornamental garden plant. Giant Hogweed grows along streams and rivers and in fields, forests, yards and roadsides. It prefers open sites with abundant light and moist soil but it can grow in partially shaded habitats, too.