When I think of perennial plants what comes to mind is usually tulips, salvia or hostas. Essentially everything you'd normally see in someone's garden.\nA perennial is a plant that returns every year after winter, without needing to be replanted. They're very hearty plants that can survive our harsh winters and have no trouble blooming again once spring comes around.\nBut Canada, unfortunately, has a very dangerous perennial that is about to start blooming again and if you're planning on spending any time in the great outdoors this summer, you'd better take note.\nHere's everything you need to know about Giant Hogweed, including what it looks like, where to spot it, and most importantly how to avoid letting it cause 3rd-degree burns or blindness for you or anyone else you know.\nGiant Hogweed blooms in June and has the ability to reach heights of 5 metres, according to The Weather Network.\nNature Conservancy Canada warns that it can post a serious health hazard for humans if they come into contact with its clear, watery sap.\nWhen UV rays from the sun come into contact with the sap on human skin, the result is "severe burns and weeping blisters," according to Nature Conservancy Canada.\nView this post on Instagram * Botanical name: #HeracleumMantegazzianum Family: #Apiaceae Common names: #GiantHogweed #Cartwheel_flower #GiantCowParsley #GiantCowParsnip #Hogsbane * #flowers #sanfrancisco #flowersofsanfrancisco #batteriestobluffstrail #instabotany #plantidentification #plantid #snv61 27/4/2019 A post shared by Snv (@snv61) on May 23, 2019 at 8:32am PDT\nThe plant poses more danger still if it's sap comes into contact with people's eyes, as the sap has the ability to cause blindness.\nREAD ALSO: It's Going To Rain All Next Week In Montreal... But There Is Still Some Good News\nAccording to the Government of Quebec, Giant Hogweed has the ability to spread extremely quickly, thus its classification as an "invasive species."\nHere are all the areas that Giant Hogweed has managed to spread and be spotted in Quebec:\nBas-Saint-Laurent\nCapitale-Nationale\nChaudière-Appalaches\nEstrie\nLanaudière\nLaurentides\nLaval\nMauricie et Centre-du-Québec\nMontérégie\nMontréal\nOutaouais\nSaguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean\nThe Government of Quebec also notes the areas that Giant Hogweed is commonly found:\nAlong river banks\nAlong ditches\nAlong railway tracks\nAlong roadsides\nIn meadows\nIn vacant lots\nView this post on Instagram What is Giant Hogweed?⠀ Giant Hogweed (Heracleum Mantegazzianum) is an invasive and highly toxic plant that has severe safety issues when in close contact with humans and animals. It was introduced as an ornamental plant by the Victorians.⠀ ⠀ Its appearance is similar to cow parsley but on an enormous scale, growing up to 6 metres in height. Foliage creates a dense canopy over surrounding land, smothering native flora and seriously affecting biodiversity. Giant Hogweed thrives beside watercourses, causing erosion of riverbanks.⠀ Why is Giant Hogweed a problem in the UK and Ireland?⠀ ⠀ The watery sap of the plant contains harmful toxins that cause photo-dermatitis and can cause blindness. After exposure to sunlight, painful blistering occurs where the sap has come into contact with skin. The effects may not become apparent for up to 48 hours after contact with the sap/stem.⠀ ⠀ Prior to coming into contact with Giant Hogweed:⠀ ⠀ Always wear non-porous gauntlet gloves when examining the plant⠀ Wear long-sleeved, long-legged garments⠀ Use goggles, particularly when undertaking clearance work⠀ Remember that even the dead stems can give a nasty burn⠀ Should you come into contact with Giant Hogweed:⠀ Immediately wash the area of skin thoroughly with water⠀ Protect the area from exposure to direct sunlight by covering with clothing, bandaging etc.⠀ Seek medical advice⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #gianthogweed #japaneseknotweed #JapaneseKnotweed #knotweed #invasivespecies #invasiveweeds #mortgages #property #suffolk #london #NWLondon #commericalbuilding #housebuilding #newhome⠀ A post shared by Doctor Knotweed (@doctor_knotweed) on May 22, 2019 at 3:00am PDT\nTo identify the plant, look for the following attributes:\n2-5 metre height\nLeaves between 1.5 metres in width and 3 metres in length\nSmall white flowers that look much like Queen Anne's Lace\nFlowers on a single stem that form clusters \nFlower clusters (called "umbels") that are 25 to 50 cm in diameter\nA hollow stem that is 4 to 10 cm in diameter and very strong\nThe stem is covered with "rough white hairs scattered all over the stem, particularly at the base of the leaf\nStem with reddish-purple blotches\nThe Government of Quebec website provides photographs of each section of the plant for identification purposes. However, if you think you've come into contact the plant, don't be flipping over the leaves to see for sure!\nView this post on Instagram Day four of common hogweed experiment. I’ve seen damage caused by giant hogweed before but never seen or experienced Heracleum spondinium burns before. A few people mentioned that furanocoumarins and other compounds present in common hogweed can cause burn if mentioned plant is not treated with respect. @monicawilde has written a good article about it. I couldn’t resist testing the power of this tasty plant. I’ve been smearing the sap on my left hand for last two years. After forage last week during short but nice heatwave I got this. Located to small area but proper blisters caused by the UV radiation from the Sun. It doesn’t hurt and hopefully melanin in the affected area will come back to normal levels. Treating it with comfrey root and dock stem pulp. Why? To learn and to educate. Will I do it again? No. Enjoy common hogweed but be aware that this plant knows how to defend itself. #heracleumsphondylium #hogweed #gianthogweed #learnasyougo #foraging A post shared by Szymon Szyszczakiewicz (@foragerium) on Apr 26, 2019 at 12:49pm PDT\nView this post on Instagram For those following Hattie's story following #GiantHogWeed toxins.. this is how it looks today.. 5 days after burns appeared. She is on oral ABx and steroids, plus topical steroid cream and a gel to promote granulation. Hard to treat near eyes #FlatCoatedRetriever A post shared by Diana Cameron : FCR Mama (@flat_coat_mama) on May 30, 2019 at 2:30am PDT\nIf you think you've come into contact with the sap, use a paper towel to wipe the sap off your skin, without too much rubbing\nRinse your skin with soap and water and wash hands well. Remove any clothing you were wearing when the contact happened.\nAvoid any sunlight exposure, as this is what activates the toxins in the sap. Do so by wearing clothing to cover yourself from any (real or artificial) UV rays - gloves, long sleeves, etc.\nYou can also use SPF to protect yourself from UV rays after contact, and the Government of Quebec suggests doing so for at least 6 months following contact.\nIf you think you've been in contact with Giant Hogweed you can call Info-Santé 811. The Nature Conservatory of Canada is also encouraging people to report all sightings to the iNaturalist.ca app.\nTo read the Nature Conservancy Canada page about Giant Hogweed, head to their page here. To read the Government of Quebec's warnings, head to their page here.