Sun + Sap = Sore

As the spring gathers momentum and the countryside comes back to life, we must be vigilant for Phyto-Photo- Dermatitis causing plants

These include:
• Giant Hogweed
• Wild Parsnip
• Wild Carrot
• Ragwort
Phyto-Photo-Dermatitis (PPD) occurs when the sap from the broken stems and leaves of certain plants touch the skin which is then subsequently exposed to ultraviolet light (produced if the weather is cloudy or sunny).

Within 24-48 hours the affected area will first redden and, in most cases, be followed by blisters that can be painful for a couple of days. In many cases the blisters will lead to a brownish pigmentation that can last for years. Toxin in the sap is absorbed by the skin and energised by the ultraviolet light. Moisture from perspiration speeds up absorption. Burning is inevitable if skin comes into contact with juice from broken or cut stems or leaves.


  • IMMEDIATELY STOP all work near to the suspect plant and contact your line manager for instructions if you think you have identified a PPD plant on your site.
    Wear protective clothing before touching the plant.
  • Seek medical advice if you have been in contact with the sap.
  • Be cautious of any plant with umbelliferae (Umbrella like) flowers.


  • Handle the plant until further advice is taken.
  • Move soil that may contain plant material without specific instructions.
  • Cut the plant – it must only be treated with Glyphosate.