Rideau Trail closed temporarily wild parsnip Ottawa July 22 2015

A section of Rideau Trail near Barrhaven has been closed temporarily due to wild parsnip. (CBC News)

Some people in south Ottawa say they're worried about the spread of wild parsnip — a plant that can burn skin and even cause blindness — as a section of a popular hiking trail has been temporarily closed due to the toxic weed.

Jessica Kingsbury said she's seen pictures and warnings on social media about the dangers of the plant.

She said she has spotted it in several parks in Barrhaven and she's scared her two young children might come into contact with it.

"My daughter, for example, every single day picks dandelions for me... because they are a pretty yellow flower," she said. "My concern is, what happens if she picks me some wild parsnip?"

Wild parsnip is also causing some concern just west of Barrhaven, where a section of the Rideau Trail has been temporarily closed because it's been overrun by the yellow flowering plant.

City did spring spraying

Wild parsnip noxious plant Ottawa July 22 2015

Wild parsnip has a sap that can burn skin and even blind people. (CBC News)

This is the first year the city has been able to spray to kill the plant because it previously wasn't included in Ontario's noxious weed act. 

The spraying took place in the spring and now that the plant is going to seed the city can't spray it anymore.

"We sprayed 260 kilometres of roadside areas and then we coupled that with some aggressive cutting," said Kevin Wylie, the city's general manager of public works.

"If we can't mow it, (if) we can't spray it... then we are putting up signage and we've developed signs to warn people to stay away."

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority said it sprays each plant individually with herbicide through the spring, summer and into the fall. 

"We've seen a big decrease. We've had the odd plant return and we've done spraying on those but the numbers and patch sizes have been decreasing," said Jennifer Lamoureux, a biologist for the authority.

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