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Flesh-Eating Knotweed Discovered in UK Garden


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A surveyor has been found negligent after failing to identify a new, deadly strain of Knotweed at a client’s property. This new strain, now known as Fallopia Carnicula, or Flesh-Eating Knotweed, was discovered at the property by the clients, Mr and Mrs Seymour, just months after moving into their new home in the welsh town of Fralipool.


“We thought it was just a common garden weed,” explains Mr Seymour, “but it quickly got out of control. In a couple of months it had doubled in size and was sprouting from the garden wall. When we found out it was Flesh-Eating Knotweed, we were obviously alarmed.”


Flesh-Eating Knotweed was named after its brutal defence mechanism, whereby it secretes a number of digestive enzymes from the edges (or margins) of its leaves which can slowly eat away at the flesh of any animal it comes into contact with, much like a Venus Fly Trap. The plant is particularly harmful to domestic pets, as Mr and Mrs Seymour found out.


Mrs Seymour comments, “Our daughter’s pet rabbit, Audrey, is the real victim here and somebody needed to be held accountable.”


The couple were forced to take action and make a claim against their surveyor after discovering the plant had developed a taste for rabbit tails.


“If our surveyor had spotted the Knotweed before we moved in, we could have negotiated on the price of the property to cover the cost of having it removed,” says Mrs Seymour, “and avoided some unnecessary veterinary bills.”


After a successful court battle, the Seymours were compensated, allowing them to arrange for the professional removal of the Flesh-Eating Knotweed by trained specialists.


Hilary Grayson, Director of Surveying Services at National Energy Services and the SAVA School of Surveying, comments, “The number of Knotweed claims made against surveyors is rising and, now, with this new strain of Flesh-Eating Knotweed cropping up around the UK, the identification of Knotweed, in all its forms, is even more vital.


“At SAVA we work hard to ensure our surveyors are confident when identifying potentially harmful and damaging plant species. In this case, the surveyor failed to report on the presence of Knotweed in any form, Flesh-Eating or otherwise, and so the case against him was infallible.”


So, what does Flesh-Eating Knotweed look like?

Japanese Knotweed and Flesh-Eating Knotweed are both invasive, non-native plant species that can cause damage to property and, in the case of Flesh-Eating Knotweed, to animals. Both plants share similar identifying features such as:

  • Bamboo-like canes
  • Red-purple shoots
  • Large green, heart-shaped leaves.

However, Flesh-Eating Knotweed does have a number of distinguishing features. For instance, unlike Japanese Knotweed, Flesh-Eating Knotweed has toothed leaves with serrated edges, similar to nettle leaves, increasing the surface area of their margins and allowing them a higher rate of secretion for their digestive enzymes.  


Property owners are advised to contact their local surveyor or Knotweed specialist if they are concerned about the presence of Japanese Knotweed or Flesh-Eating Knotweed on their property.

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