Monday, July 27, 2015

Warning - Poisonous Plant!

Driving up the Bruce Peninsula the other day, we encountered the poisonous plant Wild Parsnip for the first time.  It's an invasive species, and it seems to be spreading like mad.  I had never even seen it before.  It can give very serious burns if you touch it, so you should learn to recognize it.

This is a small corner of the infestation that we saw, spread like this along both sides of the highway for two miles.  We saw scattered plants elsewhere too.

At first glance it looks a bit like a yellow Queen Anne's Lace, but as you can see the leaves are much more substantial.

This is the flower, very much like Queen Anne's Lace, except for being yellow.  It's actually rather pretty.

The lower stems are thick, and often with this reddish colouring up and down the stem, with clinging green leaves.

A close look shows that the leaf is quite different than the 'carroty' looking leaves of Queen Anne's Lace.

And these are the seed pods of the flower.

In any case, touching any part of this plant can get its oil on your skin, which is then photo-sensitive, and when exposed to sunlight with burn your skin - from a slight red burn to serious blistering burns.  In severe cases it results in hospitalization, and can even lead to blindness if the oil gets in your eye.

The best antidote is to wash the area with soap quickly, and cover up the skin so it is not exposed to light.  But of course it's a lot better to learn to recognize it and avoid it.  It's especially important to protect children from this plant!

Linking to:

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for the information. I'll keep my eye out for it and stay away!! It does look pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, my. I hope we never get it. I will watch for it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had no idea it was a problem plant. Saw it on our walk in England last year all over. It's also up in Nova Scotia. Not here yet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They add so much beauty in the surrounding.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It looks like the desert parsley we see around here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. this plant grows in our area and I had heard before that it was poisonous. However thanks again for the warning.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have not seen this plant before, good information:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't think we have this in S CA. i pity kids that run through the fields and get covered with this stuff!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. great info, and now I have found that it is here in NZ. Will steer clear, thanks for all warnings. And for your info, I was very careful with shopping, 2 lengths of batik, even Mrs F.G, would be proud of my "hands in pockets" expenditure!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Scary. Good warning, FG. There are plants that do that over here and I read of a child that went blind - tragic. And there's something in our local old churchyard that gave me some nasty blisters when I was strimming it the other week.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lots of it here in upstate NY - I've noticed more this summer than ever before...the sneaky thing is, it doesn't hurt right away -- only after your skin is exposed to sunlight, and you find painful red streaks on your legs later on - ow. But it is popular with insects and is a good place for observing wasps, bees beetles etc late in the season

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the excellent photos and description. The invasive plant list seems to be getting longer and more dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks like you had a lovely ramble.
    Thanks for the photos and the information.
    I hope you'll drop by this week's linkup:
    http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/07/variations.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. Never heard of it and will avoid it at all costs. Looks a little like my fennel heads.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think it is related to Giant Hogweed (a sort of extra large version of Cow Parsley - which you call Queen Anne's Lace) which we get in the UK. That too can burn you very severely. Especially in bright sunlight. It has long stiff stalks up to 4m and white umbelliferous flowers very like your Wild Parsnip. In fact I wonder if it is what Mike mentions in his local church yard. Trouble is, the stalks make ideal weapons for playing children and consequently can cause a lot of damage if the day is hot and sunny and the children aren't wearing much.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've never seen it before. I wonder if it is even in our area. I've seen hemlock with those striped stalks but never this one. Thanks for the heads up, I'll keep an eye out for it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. There is quite a bit along Hwy 6. As someone said, it looks like fennel.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Excellent photos. This stuff is spreading like mad.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great series, I am not familiar with this plant. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for sharing this. I've read about this plant, but have not see such great photos of it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for the warning. We have been seeing a similar plant across Ontario.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I was able to ask if they were queen anne's lace. Must look out in summer for this Wild pasnips.

    ReplyDelete
  23. We've got stands of this here too, and Giant Hogweed. I have seen the damage they can do ... a friends daughter had blisters on her back the size of dinner plates! Scary plants!

    ReplyDelete