It's a gorgeous plant with a yellow flower but you DO NOT want to touch it unless you want a bunch of painful blisters.

Wild parsnip has been in the Southeast Minnesota and Northern Iowa area for a few summers now.  It isn't coming with a warning label though so this is one message you want to make sure all of your friends and family know.  (Don't forget to share it with them!)

Where is this plant?  Mostly in ditches but unfortunately, it can be found almost anywhere.  I've seen it next to sidewalks, bike paths, and even in the reach of kids who might be in a stroller.

What happens if I touch wild parsnip?  According to Mayo Clinic.com, "touching sap from the wild parsnip plant — combined with exposure to sunlight — can cause a burn-like skin reaction. Within a day after exposure, the skin turns red and might develop painful blisters. While mild reactions might go unnoticed, a severe reaction can cause skin discoloration for months or years."

How do I help alleviate the symptoms if I do come in contact with wild parsnip?  Wash the affected area with cool water.  Multiple sources stated that the burning from the reaction may last a few days and to use a wet cloth, unscented moisturizer, calamine lotion, and to avoid sunlight.  If the reaction is extremely painful, the blisters are severe or the pain lasts more than a couple of weeks, a visit to the Doctor may also be necessary.

How do I safely remove wild parsnip?  Wear gloves, long pants, and long sleeves if you will be working around wild parsnip!  The DNR shared the following ways that wild parsnip can be removed:

  • Hand pulling and removing of plants
  • Cut the plant below the root crown before seeds set, and remove the cut plant
  • Mow or cut the base of the flowering stem and remove

Stay safe this summer and help share this so your friends and family have this info!

Do you have a favorite park or place that you like to hike and explore?  I'd love to hear about the places in our area that you enjoy.  Let me know by sending me a message over on my Facebook page (Jessica On The Radio) or DM me on Instagram.

Listen to Jessica Williams weekdays from 6 am until 10 am on Y105FM's Early Morning Show