County reminds public about hazards of wild parsnip

·2 min read

Pembroke – The County of Renfrew is again warning the public about the presence of and dangers of a toxic plant that can be found in many areas of the county.

County staff continue to receive inquiries about the presence of Wild Parsnip on public and private property.

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca Sativa) is an invasive plant that is increasingly common within the county in areas of uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, as well as on and surrounding rural and residential properties. It poses a health risk to humans as the plant’s sap contains chemicals that may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The blisters typically occur one to two days after contact with the plant. This can result in long-term scarring of the skin. The best way to avoid contact with

Wild Parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like, so you do not accidently come in contact with the plant.

Wild Parsnip is a highly branched plant, with hollow green stems. It has two growth stages: non-flowering leafy rosettes at ground level and 0.5- to 1.5-metre-tall yellow flowering plants. In the first year of growth, low-growing non-flowering rosettes of leaves form with a cluster of spindly, compound leaves that resemble celery leaves. Second and third-year plants have tall, branched flowering stalks that usually bloom in early June to late July. Seeds are flat and round. It is a biennial plant, reproducing only by seed. The seeds can lie dormant for years making it even more challenging to control the growth of the plants. County staff will be working within the Integrated Pest Management Plan to educate workers and the public, map and reduce hazardous plants on county-owned properties this growing season.

“Residents are encouraged to become familiar with Wild Parsnip and its effects and should take measures to protect themselves,” shared Jason Davis, Area Weed Inspector for the County of Renfrew. “County staff continues to respond to reports of Wild Parsnip and other noxious and hazardous plants.”

Further information about Wild Parsnip can be obtained from: Invading species page, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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