Thursday, August 2, 2007

Wild Parsnips

A few weeks ago a colleague sent me a new item about a municipality that had a concern about wild parsnips. They can be as bad as poison ivy. Never heard of that before, so I better find out.

Fine, I said, but what do they look like. So you do a Google image search for "wild Parsnip." Fine, yellow flowers and all. Then did a Google search for "wild Parsnip." The top of the list was an article entitled Burned by wild parsnip. These particular weeds can cause "phyto-photo-dermatitis" to those who come in contact with the leaves or stems.

These chemicals in the plants on the skin cause an inflammation of the skin when these areas are exposed to sunlight.

Learned something new today, I said.

Then a week or two later, we were walking through the fields behind a friends property when I saw these yellow flowers. Hey, they look like the wild parsnips. I told Tim, I would check it out and let him know. But to be sure I took a picture for comparison. Sure enough, they were wild parsnips. I sent Tim the information in an email.

Then a few days later, I saw a huge patch of the wild parsnips near the York bridge. And as I drove down the road today, I could see more patches here and there. There are a number of other roadside plants with yellow flowers blooming right now, but the flower head is quite unique. Seems to grow in the areas that the county does not mow because of the slope of the roadside or because of a hydro pole.

So if you are out and about in the countryside, please keep a watch out for this dangerous weed.

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