**Warning--this plant contains a phototoxic sap that can cause burns, blistering, and skin discoloration. Please read the alert from the Vermont Department of Health before managing for this plant**
Pastinaca sativa is a biennial/perennial herb that looks and smells similar to cultivated parsnip and can grow up to 4 feet in height.
Leaves are alternate, compound and branched with jagged teeth. Leaflets are yellowish-green, shiny, oblong, coarsely-toothed, and diamond-shaped.
Flowering occurs from May to June, hundreds of yellow flowers develop. Flowers are arranged in an umbel.
Fruits are dry, smooth, slightly winged and flattened on the back. Fruits each contain two seeds, which are dispersed in the fall.
Native to Eurasia.
It is located in a wide range of growing conditions including dry to wet prairies, oak openings and calcareous fens (rare wetland community watered by mineral-rich, alkaline groundwater or seeps). It is commonly found along roadsides, pastures, and in abandoned fields.
Seedlings emerge from February through April, form rosettes and grow vegetatively for one or more years before they form an aerial shoot (bolt) and flower. Hundreds of small yellow flowers are produced on each plant and bloom from June to mid-July. Large yellow seeds are round, flat and slightly ribbed. Plants die after producing seeds. Seeds can remain viable in the soil for four years.
Wild parsnip invades and modifies open disturbed habitats. Once an infestation begins, it can spread across an area to form dense stands. Contact with this plant can cause skin to become photosensitive; exposure to sunlight can cause severe blistering.
5450881, 5450886, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
1551132, John Cardina, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org