Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wild Parsnip

Here is some wild parsnip I saw growing in a field. Actually wild parsnip is just the cultivated parsnip brought from Europe to North America by settlers, which has esccaped from the garden and now grows wild. 

Some of this is growing wild in my garden paths and on the edges of my woods on my property, where the lawn or driveway meets the woods.

One thing everyone should know about wild parsnip is that if you touch the leaves with your bare skin then expose it to sunlight you can get a terrible, painful rash. It is said to be a long lasting rash and can cause scarring. The research I did said it must be exposed to sunlight to cause the problem with the skin. There is a lot of information on this topic on the Internet if you want to learn more just google it.

The plants I see now (April) are about a foot high and are in bloom. These can get 2-5 feet tall over the season and do continue blooming as time goes on, I've seen them also blooming in May and June.

Again this is just the cultivated plant whose seed has been released to the wild and is self-sowing. Therefore, the root of this plant is the edible parsnip that we buy in grocery stores!

(Legal disclaimer before eating any wild growing plant educate yourself and check with an experienced wildcrafter.)


maryjo said...

That's so neat! I love wildcrafting, had a great HS Bio teacher who took us for walks to find horseradish and day lilies etc.

I wonder if my friends little guy got a rash from this plant last year since she didn't notice any poison ivy.

Does it grow in woodlands or open fields?

christinemm said...

Hi Maryjo,
It seems to need some sun but thrives in full sun. I have seen it in my garden pathways, along the edges of my woods, in open pastures with full sun and in an area near a trailhead with partial sun, a transition area where it is going into deep forest. I have never seen it in full shade in the forest. I think I read it also is on roadsides in 'waste places' where weeds grow.

I also get a poison ivy rash from Virginia Creeper which grows here wild. I was pulling it out with my bare hands and got a rash. Some of my friends get a rash too. From my Internet research some doctors seem to not know an allergy to Virginia Creeper exists while some who suffer from it know it is a fact for THEM. Head's up on that one too.

Jim said...

I believe the plant in the photograph, and the one you see flowering in April, is actually a native perenial called Golden Alexander. Wild Parsnip, a biennial, flowers in late June to early July (in WI), and tends to be taller and thicker stemmed.