Giant hogweed is invasive and noxious weed that can grow up to 4-5 metres tall and blooms in mid-May through July. This beautiful tall plant was originated from Asia and Eastern Europe and was brought to Ontario as an ornamental plant; now it is becoming more common in Southern and central Ontario.
Giant hogweed Source: wiki common
Giant hogweed has a sap that contains toxin and the toxin in the sap can cause painful blister when the sap is on the skin and when it is exposed under sunlight your skin is going to experience serious skin burn. If the sap gets in you eyes, it can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Therefore, it is best to stay away from the plant. However, if you have made contact with this toxic plant, find shade or shelter that can block you from sun immediately because the sap is very reactive when it is exposed to sunlight.
symptom Source: wiki commons
It is best to go to hospital right away after contact with the sap but if you can not go to hospital right away, use water and soap to wash the skin and contact hospital as soon as possible. When you have to handle giant hogweed, wear protective clothes, gloves and eye protection to avoid the sap.
In the past few years, E-cigarette became very popular among smokers. Many people choose to smoke E-cigarette because they think it is less harmful than traditional cigarette and the vapour coming out from the E-cigarette does not smell. Recent research observations show that from 2012 to 2013 usage of E-cigarette increased by 3 times (10.6% to 38.5%) (1). This E-cigarette burns juice, the mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavours, and nicotine (by choice); the amount of nicotine in the juice can be customized.
E-cigarette. Source: Wikimedia Commons
What are the effects of E-cigarette to our body? Well, many people try E-cigarette to quit smoking because one can get some sort of smoking feeling with controlled amount of nicotine in it (2) and they think it is less . However, long-term usage of E-cigarette (with nicotine) can make users more nicotine dependent (1). The results from he research done by Borderud et al.were quite shocking. They observed total number of 1074 cancer patients who were enrolled in a tobacco treatment program and found out that E-cigarette users were more likely to develop thoracic and head or neck cancers.
Currently, E-cigarette is used as alternative for tobacco or used as a smoking-cessation tool. Most of E-cigarette users have made quit attempts; nearly half of the people reduced nicotine use or quit smoking tobacco for period of time (3). However, many side effects of long-term use of E-cigarette are still unknown. Therefore, if you want to quit smoke, just stop smoking .
These are the short videos about danger of E-cigarette
ThePhragmites australis is an invasive reed that is rapidly colonizing in the East Coast salt marshes recently. The growth of invasive reeds is at very fast rate, which kills native grass by over competing resources, and changes the function of marsh. So how can we reduce the abundance and distribution of Phragmites and sustain native environment?
Brian R. Silliman, Rachel Carson associate professor of marine conservation biology at Duke University, experimented on herbicides, and herbivores such as goats, cows, and horses (livestock) to discover which is more effective on reducing abundance of invasive marsh reeds. He found that controlled grazing herbivores was much more effective than using herbicides to kill the reeds.
Herbicides may slow down the growth rate of Phragmites, but it is only temporary effect and costly; once herbicides were used, roots of reeds must removed and then the native species need to be re-planted to sustain the native environment. Therefore, using herbicides to kill reeds require a lot of materials and machines and it is not that efficient. So what about herbivores? The herbivores are known to eat plant, and they would eat whether they are invasive species or native species. Then, why is there an increase in native species when there is decrease in invasive species? This is because since invasive species are dominant, and outcompete the native species, herbivores would not have a chance to eat native species first, but rather start off with invasive species.
Silliman’s team randomly choose 4 goats and place them in 8.5m X 4m wire fenced box at Phragmites dominated freshwater marsh in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre in Beltsville, Maryland, USA. According to his study, goats were excellent livestock that can suppress the growth of Phragmites significantly. The goats reduced stem density by ~50%, stem height by ~60%, and percentage cover from 94% to 21% in 2~4 weeks. This remarkable results suggested that controlled grazing of goats, cows, horses, and other livestock will sustain the native species diversity by effectively reduce the invasive species and allow native species to re-establish.
The video below explain the problem with Phragmites
Cited: Richard Hydren, “The Problem with Phragmites”. Youtube, Jun 3, 2013/ Web. Oct 12, 2014