THE public are being warned to keep away from giant hogweed.
Hogweed can grow up to five metres high and is a hazard to the skin.
The chemicals in the sap react with sunlight or UV light causing the skin to blister and potentially can cause severe scarring.
The burns can last for several months and even once they have died down the skin can remain sensitive to light for many years.
A recent incident in central Fife has caused severe burns to children’s hands.
The plant grows on waste land usually alongside water. It is an invasive non-native weed which was introduced to the UK in the 19th century.
If you suspect that the weed is growing somewhere you can report it by accessing www.invasivespeciesscotland.org.uk
Linda Turner, service manager, public and environmental protection, Fife Council protective services, said: “Giant hogweed is an alien weed which can cause serious injury to people who accidently come into contact with the plant.
“I would recommend that people avoid contact with this plant.
If you have giant hogweed growing on your land you can obtain advice on how to eradicate it from www.invasivespeciesscotland.org.uk.”
Giant hogweed can be successfully destroyed over a period of time by repeatedly spraying or removing full grown plants before they set seed.