wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip roots are edible, but the sap of the plant can cause severe burns. Collecting the plant from the wild should only be done with extreme care. See the section Protective Clothing below.

Wild parsnip, which is also known as poison parsnip, is a member of the carrot/parsley family. It typically grows a low, spindly rosette of leaves in the first year while the root develops. In the second year it flowers on a tall stalk and then dies. The plant can form dense stands and spreads quickly in disturbed areas such as abandoned yards, waste dumps, meadows, open fields, roadsides and railway embankments. Its seeds are easily dispersed by wind and water, and on mowing or other equipment.

Like giant hogweed and other members of the carrot family, it produces sap containing chemicals that can cause human skin to react to sunlight, resulting in intense burns, rashes or blisters



To say that this is the most hated plant on the farm would be fair, to say that my whole area, ditches, pastures locally (not mine) is full of this is understatement and true, we are working hard, pulling and bagging and cooking in the sun, but some small areas are out of control to the point we are cutting it down, drying and bagging it after





We will need to gear up and do this same kind of cutting on the outside edges of the farm in the spray buffer zone before the fence. However, this plant will effect my plans in my permaculture food forest, there will be more cutting then I had hoped to do, I will work on a few different things to help..

When we moved here 11 years ago, they were not hear but in a few, now they are everywhere.. but we will keep the battle going strong on the farm


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6 Responses to wild Parsnip

  1. Kathleen says:

    This is evil stuff for sure, I was trying to keep it knocked down with my hoe. The goats eat it, so that is good, but if they eat the seeds they are helping to spread it. We don’t have a lot here on the farm but it is filling the ditches and fields around us. I got the juice on me by by touching my goats and dogs but was able to avoid a total burn by repeated soaping and rinsing. Now as soon as I feel the burn I run for the soap and water.

    • O yes, do you use blue dawn, we find that is the best soap to use that helps get the oils off our skin, we keep a bottle in the house just for this.. well I always keep a bottle in the different critter med kits as well for the same reason, of course only the orginal blue dawn works but its worth its weight.. interesting that your goats eat it, my sheep will do the itty bitty first year babies, so they do keep the pasture clear but they can not be allowed near the big ones as it will burn and blister around their mouths. Nasty Nasty stuff, and I hear you.. the ditches are full, and I should take a photo of a *horse pasture down the road.. it really needs to be treated.. at that point, to be honest, I would lock the horses out, spay, turn and replant the whole pasture.. but its not my land

      • Kathleen says:

        I do use the blue dawn, but have just as good results with my own homemade tallow soap. I have also used the homemade spray with the vinegar, dawn and salt mix, but you have to really keep on it. Hubby and I were just talking about the fields that are full of this weed and how if they would even cut it down and not let it go to seed it would help slow it down. Two years ago we were keeping ahead of it but now it is getting to be a real chore.

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Read somewhere yesterday that one plant can produce 50,000 seeds. HUGE amount of flower(ettes) per umbel. Another article called them “like Queen Anne’s Lace on steroids”…
    Another great decision on someone’s part *sigh*
    Good luck!
    P.S. After reading Karhleen’s comment below, it looks like the Powers That Be REALLY need to find a natural control for this stuff and ASAP! I just can’t believe that there’s nothing out there that keeps this stuff under control. Surely they have something in its original location?

  3. Pingback: Wild Parsnip -We are finally gaining ground | Just another Day on the Farm

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