February 24,

Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip

WHAT IS IT?

Wild parsnip, also known as poison parsnip, is a member of the carrot/parsley family.   Wild parsnip produces a clear, toxic watery sap that causes a skin reaction known as photo dermatitis.

Wild parsnip can grow from 0.5 to 1.5 m in height and has a single light green (sometimes purple tinged) grooved stem.

Its umbrella-shaped flowers are yellow in colour and can be 5 to 15 cm in diameter.

WHERE IS IT FOUND?

Roadsides, stream banks, waste areas and other scattered locations.

WHY IS IT NOXIOUS?

Its watery, clear sap contains photosensitizing compounds, which, when in contact with the skin and in combination with UV radiation, can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals. The symptoms may range from skin inflammation to serious blisters and scars.

HOW DO YOU TREAT EXPOSURE?

First prevent exposure by wearing gloves, protective clothing and protective eyewear when working with the plant(s). Cutaneous surfaces exposed to sap should be washed extensively with water. Further exposure of the affected skin to UV/Sunlight should be avoided.  Wash any clothing that may have come into contact with the plants or sap.  If photo dermatitis occurs, medical consultation should be sought.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON WILD PARSNIP?

Additional information can be obtained by calling the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 and from the links located to the right.

Last modified on Nov 05, 2015