Ontario Weeds: Wild parsnip
Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa
Other Names: panais sauvage, Yellow
parsnip, panais, panais cultivé
Family: Carrot Or Parsley Family (Umbelliferae)
General Description: Biennial, reproducing
only by seed. The whole plant has a distinctive parsnip odour.
Photos and Pictures
Wild parsnip. A. Seedling B. Taproot.
Wild parsnip. C. Top of flowering stem.
Stems & Roots: Stems erect, 50-150cm
(20-60in.) high, branched, hollow except at the nodes; seedlings
with small ovate leaves on long stalks, later rosette leaves pinnately
compound with broad leaflets; plants remaining as a rosette during
the first season and developing a thick white to yellowish taproot.
Leaves: Stem leaves alternate (1 per
node), pinnately compound with usually 2 to 5 pairs of opposite
(2 at a place), sharply toothed, relatively broad leaflets that
may be somewhat mitten-shaped, and 1 somewhat diamond-shaped leaflet
at the tip; all leafstalks broad and completely encircle the stem;
uppermost leaves reduced to narrow bracts with flowering branches
from their axils.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers yellow,
small, clustered in compound umbels 10-20cm (4-8in.) across; seeds
round in outline, flat and winged. Flowers from May to late autumn.
Habitat: Wild parsnip occurs throughout
Ontario in abandoned yards, waste places, meadows, old fields, roadsides
and railway embankments. It is very similar to the cultivated parsnip
and some stands may merely be the cultivated parsnip which escaped
or persisted from earlier plantings.
Caution: Some people develop a severe
skin irritation from contact with the leaves of Wild parsnip, but
the root of this plant is edible.
Similar Species: It is distinguished from
other members of the Carrot Family by its pinnately compound stem
leaves with broad, sometimes coarsely-lobed leaflets, yellow flowers
and distinctive odour.
... on general Weed
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA
Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA
Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control
to the Ontario Weeds Gallery |