Wild Parsnip

Common Name: Wild parsnip
Scientific Name: Pastinaca sativa
Origin: Europe, Asia

Description

Wild parsnip is a biennial herb that grows to 2-5 feet. Alternate, compound, branched leaves have serrated edges. First year rosettes have pinnately compound leaves. Adult plants bloom June through August with small, five-petaled, yellow flowers arranged in a flat-topped, broad umbel 2-6″.

Habitat

Wild parsnip thrives in full sun and grows along roadsides, fields, fence rows, and waste areas.

Threat

Skin contact with wild parsnip’s caustic sap can result in severe blistering that lasts for several weeks. Infestations in agricultural fields can also degrade hay and other crop values.

Management

CAUTION – This plant has sap that can cause severe skin irritation, blistering, and scarring. Be sure to wear proper personal protective equipment when managing this plant. For individual plants, digging or root cutting can be effective. For larger infestations, mowing while in flower and before seed set can be effective as well as selective herbicide treatments.

Distribution: View Map

Note: Wild parsnip does not meet APIPP’s priority setting criteria to be classified as a “target” or “watched” species. However, this profile is provided to raise awareness and prevent potential human heath impacts.