Stopping Invasive Wild Parsnip Can Be Tough, Burns Skin

Jun 20, 2017

Wild Parsnip
Credit Kitty Kohout

One of Wisconsin's plant invaders can give you a nasty burn and it's in its prime right now.

DNR Invasive plant coordinator Kelly Kearns talks about wild parsnip....

"...it will be in a rosette stage anywhere from one to several years. The flowering year, it sends up a flowering stalk usually in June at some point and it has a series of large yellow umbrella-shaped flowers a top. This plant can burn your skin. It has a chemical in it that interacts with your skin in the sunlight and cause burns...."

She says the non-native state plant can be found most commonly along roadsides, but also in open fields or any place that's an open, sunny area that has been somewhat disturbed. She says this invader will push out the native plants in a given area.

She says mowing does not get rid of it, but it does prevent it from going to seed...

"....if you really want to kill it it's best to use a spray(chemical herbicide) that you can do early in the season before it starts to flower or late in the fall after everything has started to die back. If you have a small population, you can hand dig or hand pull individual plants but you have to be dressed very well so you don't allow the plant to touch your skin at all....."

Go to the DNR website and put in the word 'invasives' in the search box. UW-Extension also has information on its website.