Poisonous Wild Parsnip

(In Process)


POISON WILD PARSNIP (Pastinaca Sativa)

Notice of an Invasive Toxic Weed in Bridgewater Township

Poison Wild Parsnip is present in the township and spreading at a rapid rate in ditches and open areas. The following is some information on Wild Parsnip from the MN DNR, MN DOT, and MN Extension Office.

Appearance: Monocarpic perennial herbaceous plant (plant spends one or more years in rosette stage, blooms under favorable conditions, and then dies), 6 inches high in the rosette stage and 4 inches high on stout, grooved stems in the flowering stage. At the basal rosette stage, it is one of the first plants to green up in the spring and one of the last to brown in autumn. Seeds are moved off infested sites by animal and human activity or wind and water movement. Seeds are reported to be viable in soil for up to 4 years.

Leaves: Alternate, leaf is made up of 5 -15 egg shaped leaflets along both sides of a common stalk; leaflets sharply-toothed or lobed at the margins; upper leaves smaller.

Flowers: Flat-topped broad flower cluster 2 – 6 inches wide, numerous five-petaled yellow flowers; bloom from June to late summer.

Warning: Wild Parsnip causes “phyto-photodermatitis”, which happens when the sap of the plant, from broken stems and leaves, touches the skin and is exposed to ultraviolet light (whether cloudy or sunny). Within 24 to 48 hours, the affected area will first redden and in most cases be followed by blisters that can be painful for a couple of days. In many cases, the blisters will lead to brownish pigmentation that can last for years. Unlike Poison Ivy, the reaction caused by contact with Wild Parsnip sap is not an allergic reaction. Toxin in the sap is absorbed by the skin and energized by ultraviolet light. Moisture from perspiration speeds absorption. Burning is inevitable if skin comes in contact with juice from cut or broken stalks, leaves or flowers. The juices are most potent while in flower. No one is exempt. Symptoms usually take 24-48 hours to develop, but could take longer. Mild exposure is similar to sunburn. Severe exposure causes skin to blister.

If you must work with Wild Parsnip, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.

 Wash clothes that come in contact with the sap.

 Work with the plant on cloudy days, and always wash your skin immediately after coming in contact with the sap.

 If you are using string trimmers or power mowers in areas where this plant grows, wear eye/face protection, in addition to long pants, long sleeves, and gloves.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt/documents/wild-parsnips.pdf

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