Beware the wild parsnip

by Marilyn Snedden

Wild Parsnip
Wild Parsnip
Wild Parsnip leaf
Wild Parsnip Leaf

I want to remind everyone of the danger from the juice inside the Wild Parsnip-that tall plant with the curved yellow flower head so prevalent  on our roadsides right now. It might be tempting to pick some for a  bouquet or to try pulling it to keep it from overpowering your property.

The danger from this plant was brought home to me last weekend while on a garden tour in the Carp area. One homeowner, whom I knew well, had her face covered in a horrid rash so that I hardly recognized her. She had pulled the weed along her lane to get ready for the tour but because it was hot, her arms weren't covered and she didn't wear gloves. She wiped
her face and this spread the toxic juice to her face. The combination of sun,sweat and the juice results in welts that are likened to burns.

Several years ago my arms were affected and the scars took 2 months to disappear. There is no quick treatment so cover up well if you tangle with wild parsnip!