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Appearance: Monocarpic perennial herbaceous plant (plant spends one or more years in rosette stage, blooms under favorable conditions, and then dies), 6" high in the rosette stage and 4' high on stout, grooved stems in the flowering stage. Leaves: Alternate, leaf is made up of 5 -15 egg shaped leaflets along both sides of a common stalk; leaflets sharply-toothed or lobed at the margins; upper leaves smaller. Flowers: Flat-topped broad flower cluster 2 - 6" wide, numerous five-petaled yellow flowers; bloom from June to late summer. Seeds: Small, flat, round, slightly ribbed, strawcolored, abundant take 3 weeks to ripen before they can reseed; viable in the soil for 4 years. Roots: Long, thick, edible taproot.
It is primarily a problem in southeastern Minnesota in prairies and oak openings. A native of Europe and Asia this plant has escaped from cultivation, it is grown as root vegetable, and is common throughout the U.S. Wild parsnip is a MDA
Warning - Avoid skin contact with the toxic sap of the plant tissue by wearing gloves, long sleeves and long pants. The juice of wild parsnip in contact with skin in the presence of sunlight can cause a rash and blistering and discoloration of the skin (phytophotodermatitis).