Contact with this plant can cause skin to become photosensitive; exposure to sunlight can cause severe blistering.

Yet another invasive, exotic plant... but this one with direct health consequences for humans. I don't know if it has health consequences for other animals, I'll be researching that.


When I was a kid, I don't remember seeing this growing by the roadside. Now, its growing by the roadside everywhere I look. It's even started to creep into the edges of our woods. I'm planning on digging up roots and properly disposing of the plant, roots and all, before it sets seed.

Here's how it looks its first year:


More photos here.

Factsheet on wild parsnip, including tips on mechanical and chemical control, as well as how to differentiate it from Prairie Parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii), which is on the endangered list in Wisonsin.

It's very important to be fully covered when eradicating this plant. Long sleeves, long pants, and gloves should be worn when destroying it.

Here's a map of US states and territories infested with wild parsnip.

Evidently the Vermont Department of Health has been getting all sorts of calls about people sustaining burns after contact with this plant.

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Horrible stuff, isn't it? One of the information sheets I got from Wise on Weeds said that it changes its environment. I haven't found anything yet, but I'm researching to see if it is allelopathic, or just now it changes its environment.

I remember roadsides being dominated by Queen Anne's Lace and chicory, but like you noticed, this crap is all over. What concerns me is that if it is displacing native plants (or relatively benign exotics, like chicory), it will also be destroying habitat for native fauna, including butterflies. We have lots of milkweed down here, thankfully, so we will continue to get monarchs.

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