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Is this poisonous plant in your garden too?

Gillian Fensom with her oisonous plants

Gillian Fensom with her oisonous plants

A poisonous plant, which was thought to have been almost extinct in the UK, has been found in a garden in Long Sutton.

Agrostemma Githago, also known as corn cockle, has also been found in Sunderland, leading to a national newspaper writing an article about the plant.

Long Sutton resident Gillian Fensom was reading the paper when she spotted the plant.

Gillian said: “I saw the article and thought ‘my goodness, that looks familiar’, so I decided something needed to be done about the plant.

“I must have planted them in early April as I used a packet of wild flower seeds which my son had given me for Mothering Sunday.

“There isn’t just one of these plants – there’s several of them scattered around.

“I’ve already warned the little boy next door, whose football often flies over the fence, not to touch them and not to go near them if his football ends up there either.”

It is believed that the plant was brought into England from Europe by Iron Age farmers but was wiped out by modern farming methods and herbicides.

Gillian said: “The plant will soon be going to seed and I don’t want the seeds to scatter further.

“I would keep the plant if it wasn’t the one I read about, because it is very pretty, but I must get rid of it.”

The plant is said to contain noxious toxins and poison which can lead to severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, weakness, slow breathing and, in extreme cases, death.

The fine hairs on the plant can also cause skin irritation if touched.

Local gardening expert Daphne Ledward said: “The plant is less common than it used to be with modern farming practices – it used to be found in abundance in cornfields, along with poppies, corn marigolds and cornflowers but herbicides have largely killed it out.

“It is poisonous, as are a lot of other British wildflowers, but as long as you don’t eat the plant, it isn’t likely to harm you.”

 

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