Pastinaca sativa (Wild Parsnip) - photos and description






Leaf coming out of ground, first year growth.

Leaf from stem of plant, second year growth.

General: Stout-stemmed biennial plants with a thickened (parsnip-like) taproot. Stems glabrous. An introduced weedy species, has been declared a noxious weed in Saskatchewan.

Caution should be taken around this plant, it exudes chemicals that can cause burns and blistering on exposed skin.

Flowers: Flowers are bright yellow in compound umbels, a flower was measured at 2 mm diameter, compound umbel measured at 16 cm diameter. We counted 6 to 15 flowers per umbellet.

Leaves: Leaves alternate, pinnate with 5 to 15 leaflets. Leaf highlighted in the bottom photo on this page was 27 cm long by 16 cm wide. Leaflets are oblong to ovate, serrate. Leaves and petioles are puberulent.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 150 cm tall, I measured plants to 175 cm tall.

Habitat: Waste ground, fields, and ditches.

Abundance: Uncommon.

Origin: Introduced.

How to distinguish this species from among others in the Carrot Family (Apiaceae):  Biennial with parsnip root, leaves 1-pinnate, flowers yellow - Taxonomic Reminder for Identifying Saskatchewan Plants.

When and where photographed: Photos taken August 2nd and 4th, roadsides and edges of fields, about 45 km southeast of our home in Regina, SK.