Pastinaca sativa, Wild Parsnip

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener September 21, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Pastinaca sativa, Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip is a biennial/perennial herb that can grow up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) in height. Leaves are alternate, compound, and branched with jagged teeth. Flowering occurs from May to June, when hundreds of yellow flowers develop. Flowers are arranged in an umbel. Fruits are dry, smooth, slightly winged, and flattened on back. Fruits each contain two seeds, which are dispersed in the fall. Wild parsnip is native to Eurasia and occurs in sunny areas with varying degrees of soil moisture. Contact with this plant can cause skin to become photosensitive; exposure to sunlight can cause severe blistering.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Apiales > Apiaceae > Pastinaca sativa L.

Synonym(s): wild parship

Pastinaca sativa - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Wild parsnip - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

Wild parsnip is a biennial/perennial herb that can grow up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) in height.

Theodore Webster, USDA Agricultural Research Service, bugwood.org Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, Ohio State University, bugwood.org

Foliage

Leaves are alternate, compound, and branched with jagged teeth.

Bruce Ackley, Ohio State University,  bugwood.org Jeff Stachler, Ohio State University, bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs from May to June, when hundreds of yellow flowers develop. Flowers are arranged in an umbel.

John Cardina, Ohio State University, bugwood.org

Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, Ohio State University,   bugwood.org

Fruit

Fruits are dry, smooth, slightly winged, and flattened on back. Fruits each contain two seeds, which are dispersed in the fall.

John Cardina, Ohio State University,   bugwood.org

Bruce Ackley, Ohio State University, bugwood.org

Native Species That Can Resemble Wild Parsnip

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

Additional Images for Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Fact Sheet - Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources

Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.