Illinois residents are being warned of a poisonous plant growing throughout the state that causes painful blisters and a rash similar to severe burns when touched.
Wild parsnip is spreading across parts of the Midwest, according to health officials, including Illinois and Iowa.
From the outside the wild parsnip has lacy, yellow-green heads similar to wildflowers and can look harmless. But the plant secretes an oily sap containing psoralen that causes a severe reaction when it comes in contact with the skin and then is exposed to sunlight.
The plant typically flowers from May to July, according IDNR officials, and can grow from 6 inches to 6 feet tall. It is often found in roadside ditches, fields and along bike paths.
Those who come across the plant are urged to avoid using a lawn string trimmer to remove it, as breaking the parsnip tissue will spray a high exposure of the toxin.