A little girl could suffer blisters for years after touching a giant hogweed plant at a beach.
Ruby Duffy, 3, touched a giant hogweed plant during a visit with her grandmother to a beach last week.
In Australia, the heracleum mantegazzianum plant is commonly found in Adelaide, South Australia. It produces a toxic sap which comes from the plant's leaves and stalks, causes severe burns to skin when it reacts with UV light from the sun.
It also produces a rosette of small white flowers.
After picking the weed at the beach, Ruby's right hand erupted in painful blisters and she was rushed to hospital.
"Ruby woke up this morning with large blisters all over her hand and complaining of pain when using her hand," her mum Caitlin wrote on Facebook.
"We were told it was a hogweed burn (or possibly a reaction to some other plant but more than likely hogweed).
"Hogweed contains sap which is highly toxic and can cause many different symptoms including blistering and burning as well as some more adverse reactions and long-term damages."
Doctors have warned the youngster, from Dundee, Scotland, could be left with pain for months before her wounds fully heal.
As a result, Caitlyn shared photos of her daughter's horror injuries, warning parents to take care when children are playing in areas with flowers.
"They can be so curious and drawn in by the colours and textures of flowers," Caitlyn said.
"It's so very easy for this to happen but I'm hoping by sharing this it will make parents more vigilant and prevent any other little ones going through this."
Workers have now cleared the overgrown area where Ruby was burned by the plant, which can grow to 3m tall.
Many responded to Caitlyn's post, thanking her for the helpful advice.
"Ohhh what a shame, looks sore. Thanks for sharing," one said.
"OMG hope she's not in too much pain. What a brave soldier," another wrote.
While one said: "This happened to me when I was younger. I fell off my bike into a full field of it was the most painful thing I've ever experienced. Hope she makes a quick recovery."
While the plant is not common in Australia, it's been documented there was a giant hogweed in Adelaide in 2007, according to the Department of Environment and Energy.
It has also previously been found growing in Tasmania, near Devonport, but appears to have been "eradicated" according to the Tasmanian Government.
A 2018 study in the US found the plant is so toxic to humans, it could have the potential to blind people.