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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Help protect against wild parsnip

Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant that is increasingly common within the City of Ottawa in areas of uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, as well as on and surrounding rural and residential properties. The plant sap contains chemicals that may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to severe 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.

How to Identify Wild Parsnip 

  • Grows up to 4 metres tall 
  • The single green stem is two to five centimetres thick and smooth with few hairs 
  • Compound leaves are arranged in pairs, with sharply toothed leaflets that are shaped like a mitten 
  • Yellowish green flowers form umbrella-shaped clusters 10 to 20 centimetres across Seeds are flat and round

What you can do

If spotted on city property: report this plant by calling 3-1-1 or with the on-line reporting form.

If spotted on private property: dig it up, cover yourself up and mow it down (before it flowers), or kill it chemically!

For more information 

There are numerous sites available with more information on how to identify this plant, protect yourself against it and get rid of it in our region, including https://www.scribd.com/doc/272092188/July-16-15-JH,  http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/water-and-environment/plants-and-animals/wild-parsnip, and http://www.kingstonregion.com/news-story/5738594-dangerous-wild-parsnip-growing-rampant-in-eastern-ontario/.