Canadians are being warned to look out for a dangerous, invasive plant that can cause third-degree burns.The Nature Conservancy of Canada says giant hogweed is one of Canada’s most dangerous plants. The non-native plant grows up to six metres in height and has large clusters of white flowers at the top.
Its clear, toxic sap can cause rashes, blistering, burns and even blindness if it touches the body and is then exposed to the sun. The group is asking people to document sightings of the plant, which is currently flowering. It has been found in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, including cities like greater Toronto and Ottawa.
Often mistaken for the similar-looking cow parsnip, it can be seen growing in gardens, along roadsides, in ditches and on the shores of rivers and streams. But simply touching the plant is not dangerous, experts stress. It’s the sap that is problematic and washing your body and clothes after exposure can prevent the toxic reaction.
Kraus encourages people to report a sighting via the iNaturalist.ca app.
Source: Canadian Press