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Getting to "know" wild parsnip - or "where did that rash come from?"

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  • Getting to "know" wild parsnip - or "where did that rash come from?"

    Just a friendly warning to other land-owning wide-eyed do gooders - watch what you work around.

    Had this lovely, goldenrod looking plant pointed out to me this spring - a fairly new development in this county, but apparently also present in other states. Was warned & pretty much stayed away from it, but didn't do anything to get rid of it. I have over 90 acres, have had my fields brush hogged (the lower one right next to my house was full of this.) But am also trying to maintain some lawn & have introduced landscaping around my home.

    Well, somehow the other day mowing the lawn, weeding, etc. it got me back & I have a rash on my arms, legs, and even stomach(?!?) ...the day before going to Saratoga mind you - 85 degrees & I had to wear sleeves! Let alone that it has been driving me crazy... Have never had issues with poison ivy or sumac. I really got into researching this on the internet - and what it can do to you is scary - rash can become discolored and permanent. Foruntately mine didn't blister, only have welts so far. But the day after going to the track it got worse, so I stayed in yesterday & it seems to have calmed down.

    I believe because I didn't have it addressed this spring, as a larger plant going to seed, its ramifications are more easily "felt" now. And its too late in the season to safely address - if I'm still here in the spring, I'll have to try and remove it early.

    More scary is its cousin the giant hogweed. I have some large stemmed critters that look like they come from another planet growing here, but fortunately I don't think I have any of those (yet!).

    So that's what you can run into living and working on alot of acreage that hasn't been farmed regularly over the years. Just a warning! If it's not the poachers, or the critters, now it's the plants! And please read up on this one. It is a real problem.

    http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/44632.html

    https://www.nysdot.gov/dangerous-plants/wild-parsnip
    Last edited by CVPeg; Aug. 9, 2011, 07:09 PM. Reason: clarification
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

  • #2
    The stuff is rampant around here, and is getting worse. Apparently, the juice is getting more toxic, too.

    I scythe it down. Some is taller than my head. I take care to work when it is cloudy, or in the evening. If you cut it too early in the year, it will just produce more, but smaller, seed heads. Too late in the year, and the seeds will have set. I suppose Roundup would kill it, but it would kill other surrounding plants as well. Perhaps plowing and reseeding would work, as this stuff seems to like undisturbed soil.
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    • #3
      We have lots of the stuff too, although ours is white so I'm not 100% sure it IS wild parsnip (I have been told by locals it is). I never have gotten a rash from the stuff and I just ripped out a ton in our yard. Maybe it starts white and turns yellow and that is when it becomes more noxious?

      It is quite easy to pull out, but you have to grip it at the bottom of the stem and pull (we have clay loam). I tried using a stand-up weeder on them, and it's just easier to pull.
      "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
      Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Nes View Post
        We have lots of the stuff too, although ours is white so I'm not 100% sure it IS wild parsnip (I have been told by locals it is). I never have gotten a rash from the stuff and I just ripped out a ton in our yard. Maybe it starts white and turns yellow and that is when it becomes more noxious?

        It is quite easy to pull out, but you have to grip it at the bottom of the stem and pull (we have clay loam). I tried using a stand-up weeder on them, and it's just easier to pull.
        They nysdot site I included shows "cow parsnip" which looks just like "wild", only white - same issues...
        But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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        • #5
          From wikipedia:

          The Cow Parsnip is distributed throughout most the continental United States except the Gulf Coast and a few neighboring states. It is especially prevalent in Alaska. It is listed as "Endangered" in Kentucky and "Special Concern" in Tennessee. In Canada, it is found in each province and territory, except Nunavut. It may be weedy or invasive in portions of its range.
          Yes looks like we've got cow parsnip Kentucky you guys do not WANT this stuff!
          "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
          Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
          Need You Now Equine

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          • #6
            Thanks for this! You've just solved our summer mystery -- my husband got a terrible rash after weedwacking -- had no idea about this stuff!
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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
              Thanks for this! You've just solved our summer mystery -- my husband got a terrible rash after weedwacking -- had no idea about this stuff!
              Thought I'd bump this again after today. The itching has almost stopped, but the rash is still very present. I'm a bit concerned about website comments on its possible permanent nature, or that one has to be very careful now to keep it out of the sun to prevent scarring (lovely since it's down my left arm and left leg.)

              Went into our small town drug store, and found at least 20 different choices for anti-itch/calamine/Cortizone type stuff. The cashier also said there have been alot in with "unknown" rashes. Finally, I just got home from scouting out a property in a neighboring town, and the stuff is EVERYWHERE, throughout unused fields, and particularly along roadsides. Now in Upstate NY, it has turned from a goldenrod yellow color, to a bronze. The flowers are atop a long stalk - with a shape like Queen Anne's lace.

              STAY AWAY. IT'S BAD NEWS!
              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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              • #8
                I saw signs and posters warning against it up on the Bruce Peninsula a couple weeks ago... I remembered posts on EMG about it too, when one poster located one and warned people about it (it was on a fairly well traveled road).

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                • #9
                  If the itching/rash persists, you might want to see about maybe getting a script for Desoximetasone. It's a cream that is prescribed for that sort of thing and it really seems to help. I am very sensitive to poison ivy, sumac etc and this time of year it is a godsend.
                  **********
                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                  -PaulaEdwina

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                  • #10
                    There is a serious effort to eradicate the stuff here - takes a specialised effort because it is so dangerous and needs special clothing to attack it. Kids are attracted to it because it is so enormous and looks like fun to play in.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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