Pastinaca sativa (Wild Parsnip) - photos and description

Pastinaca sativa

Pastinaca sativa

Pastinaca sativa

Pastinaca sativa

Pastinaca sativa


Leaf coming out of ground, first year growth.

Pastinaca sativa
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.