Handle Wild Parsnip With Care

Handle Wild Parsnip With Care

A plant commonly found throughout the northern United States and southern Canada.  Have you seen Wild Parsnip growing along roadways at this time of the year in your area?

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is flowering now.  From a distance, it might resemble dill plants growing wild. 

It also resembles Queen Anne’s Lace (which is white flowered as shown below) but otherwise very similar and in the same family.  Here is a picture showing both plants flowering and growing together along the roadside.

Wild Parsnip is a biennial producing a rosette of foliage the first year, and the next year it bolts and gets up to four feet or so when it flowers.  If you were to cut the plants, the sap is toxic and it becomes very irritating in the presence of sunlight and can cause severe blistering of your skin.  Please be very careful if you are in the presence of these plants.  Soon after they bloom, they melt away in the landscape leaving lots of seeds for next year.  

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