A Weed To Avoid!


Wild Parsnip

In my recreated one-acre meadow, wildflowers grow. Unfortunately among them are a few wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) plants. Wild Parsnip is a non-native invasive plant, spreading in ditches now in Minnesota. It has clusters of small yellow flowers and grows between 4’ – 6’ tall.

It looks pretty from a distance but… According to the Ohio State University Extension Service; “Severe blistering can occur if chemicals in the plant juices (furanocoumarins (= furocoumarins)) come in contact with skin and the skin is then exposed to sunlight; specifically ultraviolet light. The effect is called phytophotodermatitis (a.k.a. Berloque dermatitis) and burn-like symptoms as well as skin discoloration may last for several months. Always wear gloves and protective clothing if you find yourself working around this weed!” Two years ago I had a friend that tangled with this plant and a day later blistering 3rd-degree burns spread up and down his arms.

I dispatched the weed with my nuclear weapon equivalent, a liberal application of Liberty Herbicide. Liberty is a fast action contact killer that, once dry, does not travel to other areas. It works best in the dry heat of July and August.

While I can tolerate some Water Hemp, Thistles, and even some Stinging Nettle, Wild Parsnip will not be welcome in my garden.

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