Be on the lookout! Giant hogweed in Canada is about to bloom and while it looks pretty, it can be extremely harmful. Its sap can cause severe burns if it comes in contact with your skin.
With summer on the way, lots of beautiful plants are blooming, including giant hogweed.
However, the Weather Network warns that this invasive species that came to Canada from Asia poses serious risks to your health.*
It starts to bloom in June and can grow as tall as five and a half metres if the conditions are ideal.
Giant hogweed has small white flowers that cluster in shapes similar to umbrellas.
Its thick stems are covered with reddish-purple specks and stiff hairs that are filled with sap.
The white blooms of this plant are pretty but if the clear, watery sap comes into contact with your skin and is then exposed to sunlight, it can be painful.
UV radiation can cause severe burning and blisters.
According to Nature Conservancy Canada, this invasive species has been spotted in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
So, if you're out in nature in those provinces, you might want to be on the lookout for this plant so you don't get hurt.
Giant hogweed can spread easily and grows along roadsides, ditches and streams.
It also invades open woodlands and fields.
Since it's a perennial plant, it comes back every year without having to be replanted.
Seeds stuck in shoe or bicycle treads are often how species like this are accidentally spread to other areas.
This invasive species is a member of the carrot and parsley family.
It is also similar in appearance to wild parsnip which causes burns as well.
Back in 2015, an Ontario woman was told she would have to avoid direct sunlight for three years because she came into contact with wild parsnip.
Nature Conservancy Canada suggests reporting any sightings of giant hogweed locally or provincially because finding the plants is key to getting rid of them.
*This article has been updated.