The City of Owen Sound is cautioning residents about a plant that can cause severe burns and blindness.

Giant hogweed has been located along a number of city trails and officials say steps are being taken to destroy the invasive species.

According to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, if the clear sap of the giant hogweed is on your skin and is exposed to sunlight it can cause severe burns. Additionally, if the sap makes contact with your eyes it could cause blindness.

The sap contains photosensitizing compounds. These compounds activate in UV radiation and cause severe dermatitis. Symptoms typically occur within 48 hours.

Hogweed can spread rapidly in fields, woodlands and near streams.

Anyone who finds hogweed on their property is urged to hire professionals to remove it and prevent further spreading of the plant.