Spear thistle, curled dock and giant hogweed are among the nine 'criminal' plants that could land you with a hefty fine, the experts have warned.

While it is not illegal to grow these problem plants in your garden, it’s vital that households control their spread to prevent further damage to neighbouring properties and potential danger to animals.

Some invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed, have a bamboo-like stem that can spread rapidly. If left unattended, it has been known to damage building structures by targeting cracks in masonry and attempting to grow through them. Meanwhile, common ragwort can cause liver poisoning in horses and livestock due to the toxin it contains.

“Invasive non-native species of plants have usually arrived in the UK free from the creatures which munch on them and prevent them becoming dominant. As very few of our native herbivores are able to eat these plants they can become aggressive and drown out other native species of plants,” Terry Smithson, Biodiversity Manager and Ecologist at Bioscapes, tells The Express.

“Himalayan balsam, for example, has become so abundant along our watercourses that it has smothered most of the native plants and grasses. Unfortunately, as Himalayan balsam dies back in the winter it makes the now bare banks very vulnerable to erosion and damage.”

Slipping on your gardening gloves this summer? The government explains that it’s your responsibility to stop invasive plants in their tracks. “If you find invasive non-native plants on your land, you must stop them from spreading and causing a nuisance or damage to other land or property. If you do not, you could be responsible for any damage they cause and may be prosecuted,” reads the statement.

Take a look at the full list of plants

  • .Spear thistle
  • Common ragwort
  • Broad-leaved dock
  • Japanese knotweed
  • Rhododendron ponticum
  • Himalayan Balsam
  • Giant Hogweed
  • New Zealand pigmyweed
  • Curled dock

Hayes (Kent) Village Association

The Association was founded in 1933 to protect the interests of residents and preserve the local amenities.

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