Poison Parsnip plants are toxic and invasive. They are also growing wild across the nation. The weeds are native to Asia and Europe. However, they are now common in nearly every US state.
Wild parsnip plants are usually found in areas where other common weeds thrive, including backyards. They are an invasive species that can spread rapidly and wipe out other plant species in the area. Even worse, the plant oils can cause health concerns.
As reported by The Poison Garden, poison parsnip can cause a blistering skin rash, similar to those caused by poison ivy. However, the rash produced by wild parsnip is usually more severe. The symptoms generally disappear after a few weeks, but may discolor the skin for months.
The plants share their name with edible parsnips, which are grown for food. Unlike the edible variety, wild parsnips should be avoided.
Wild parsnip plants can rapidly spread, taking over yards and flower beds. However, they can be eliminated from the yard through diligent care. As reported by FDL Reporter, the poison parsnips can be eliminated with herbicide application in the fall or spring.
Those who wish to avoid chemicals can keep the weeds cut at ground level or mowed. Gloves should always be worn when handling the plants to avoid an adverse reaction.
As discussed by the Vermont Department of Health, wild parsnips are green plants that produce tiny yellow flowers. They are similar in appearance to Queen Anne’s Lace.
They are closely related to carrots, and produce similar sized roots. The flowers do not appear until their second year of growth. Mature plants can reach up to four feet in height.
The health department suggests thoroughly washing with soap and water if skin comes into contact with the plants. As sunlight may trigger a reaction, avoiding sunlight for 48 hours may decrease the risk. If blisters form a doctor should be contacted.
Clothes that come into contact with the plants should also be thoroughly washed as the oils may linger.
Poison parsnip can be toxic and is certainly invasive. However, with care, they can be avoided and eliminated, reducing the risks.
[Image via Wikimedia]