Wild Parsnip, Pastinaca sativa, is an edible plant that can give you a rash worse than Poison Ivy and the redness can last for months. So if you’re around this plant and you have been sweeting avoid or approach with caution. The Potawatomi and Ojibwa both considered the root poisonous. The root can be harvested from fall to early spring eaten raw or cooked until tender, but keep in mind the rash you can get trying to harvest the root.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry.
Wild Parsnip Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Brill, Steve. Wild Edibles Plus. Computer Software. WinterRoot LLC. Version 1.5. 2012. Web. Feb. 15, 2014.
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon & Alfred Charles Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1996. Print. pg. 297
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 125-126
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 47
Herrick, James William. Iroquois Medical Botany. Ph.D. Thesis, New York: State University of New York, Albany 1977. Print. pg. 195, 196
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 379
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 226-227
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 66-67
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.
Very interesting, I have this all over the farm we just purchased. I recently developed an itchy rash and thought it was from brown tail moths, but i was was digging out a few of these buggers the same day.
when is it safe to dig them up?
Hi Amy, I was burned by this plant as well, it was the worst rash I can remember. I’m not completely sure when it would be safe to dig them up, I would think it would be when the plant begins to die out for the winter. By then most of its essence should be returning to the roots, hypothetically speaking. Regardless I would wear long sleeves and gloves just to be sure.
Worry Wort says
Yeah this is a mean plant, good article, thanks for sharing.