How much of the 'country’s most invasive plant' is in Romford?

In Romford alone there are 38 known infestations of Japanese knotweed

In Romford there are 38 known infestations of Japanese knotweed. - Credit: Environet

Romford is subject to infestations of the “country’s most invasive plant” which most people cannot identify, according to research.

Analysis released by data company YouGov and invasive plant specialists Environet found that only 18 per cent of adults in the east of England could correctly identify Japanese knotweed, which they called "the UK’s most invasive plant".

The remaining 82pc were left “extremely vulnerable” to the risk posed by the invasive species, which was most commonly mistook for common garden plants such as bindweed, ivy, Russian vine and peony.  

Recognised by its “distinctive green heart shaped leaves” that sprout in the early summer, Japanese knotweed was found to be “well established” across the UK.  

There are 38 known infestations of Japanese knotweed within a 4km radius of Romford town centre, the research revealed.

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Researchers also said that knotweed can grow through brick walls and eventually destroy them, but it can only “exploit existing cracks” and weaken concrete.  

A heatmap that shows the infestation of knotweed in the Romford area. 

A heatmap that shows the infestation of knotweed in the Romford area. - Credit: Environet UK

Knotweed will cause damage to a building if a severe infestation is left “unchecked" for several years, they added.

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Founder and managing director of Environet, Nic Seal said: “The general public’s ability to spot Japanese knotweed is worryingly low.

"This is particularly considering around 5pc of homes in the east of England are affected, making them difficult to buy and sell and causing disputes between neighbours which can be unpleasant and costly to resolve.  

“Homeowners and buyers keen to avoid a run in with this highly destructive and invasive plant should ensure they know what to look out for at different times of year, from the dark red spears that emerge in March or April to the lush green leaves of summer and the dead-looking canes left standing by early winter. 

“Awareness of the damage caused by knotweed if it’s left unchecked is thankfully much higher and people are right to be concerned.

"Knotweed is best dealt with quickly, before it has a chance to become established and spread.” 

Environet offers a free identification service to anyone who is concerned about a "suspicious plant" growing in their garden.

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