Weed of the Month: Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip foliage can cause skin photosensitivity and rashes in both humans and horses.

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Weed of the Month: Wild Parsnip
Wild parsnip | Photo: Virginia Tech Weed ID Guide
Common name: Wild parsnip
Scientific name: Pastinaca sativa L.

Life Cycle: Biennial
Origin: Eurasia
Poisonous: Yes (foliage), skin photosensitivity

Wild parsnip is distributed widely across the United States and Canadian Provinces and frequently grows along fencerows and roadsides. Depending on the location, seeds germinate in the fall or early spring and plants flower from June through July.

Flowers are yellow or yellow with reddish tinge. This erect, growing plant can reach 6 feet in height. The leaves alternate on the stem and are coarsely toothed. Stems are stout and hollow, often with ridges. Roots branch from a tuberous taproot and are edible

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