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Toxic deadly nightshade species removed from Chester city centre

Council team springs into action after reports surface on social media

Colin Parker-Rich, service delivery team leader with the Streetscene team from Cheshire West and Chester Council.

A poisonous plant growing in abundance at Chester ’s former Princess Street bus exchange has been swiftly removed by a council team.

Reports first surfaced on social media that deadly nightshade was growing in a flower bed within the fenced off area.

The city centre location is earmarked for regeneration as part of the Northgate Development.

A species of the poisonous plant deadly nightshade has been removed from in and around the former Princess Street bus exchange in Chester city centre.

Cheshire West and Chester Council ’s Streetscene team quickly sprang into action to remove the dangerous bushes.

The plant was identified not as the traditional deadly nightshade, which has purple flowers, but as a variety called Solanum americanum which is also toxic with poisonous berries and foilage.

It was found growing not only on the site of the former bus exchange but on adjacent areas including a grassy patch. It is apparently very common and spread by birds.

A species of the poisonous plant deadly nightshade has been removed from in and around the former Princess Street bus exchange in Chester city centre.

Ironically the plant is used as a medicine in Cameroon, Kenya, Hawaii, Panama, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Pakistan. In China a tea from the whole plant is used to treat cancer of the cervix. It is used as folk medicine for a wide range of conditions, being applied topically and internally.

But the layperson is best advised to stay clear as research indicates the presence of toxic glycoalkaloids. The green fruit is particularly poisonous and eating unripe berries has caused the death of children. Ripe berries and foliage may also cause poisoning.

Lead officer Andy Worrall, gardener Dave Walker and Colin Parker-Rich, service delivery team leader, all from the Streetscene team at Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Council spokesman David Sejrup said: “The council was advised of the presence of the plant and acted immediately to remove it.”

Chester Race Company took action over the summer after toxic giant hog weed returned to its Linenhall car park in the city centre . The weed can cause horrendous blisters if it comes in contact with the skin.

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