Beware Of Wild Parsnip, A Common Iowa Weed With Cytotoxic, Skin-Burning Sap

Did you know that there is a poisonous plant found in every Iowa county, inhabiting overgrown areas along roadways and in fields and beside trails, that can cause your skin to break out in painful blisters if you so much as touch it? No, we’re not talking about poison ivy – we’re talking about Wild Parsnip, Pastinaca sativa.

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

Naturally you might also be wondering how to get rid of the stuff if it shows up nearby. By all means, do not weed-eat or string trim it because of the sap that could then splatter everywhere! If you can mow it in a way that avoids contact, that can be an effective way to manage this plant. If you are interested in spraying herbicide, talk with your Iowa State Extension agent or ask at your local farm co-op. Unfortunately, this invasive plant has been in Iowa for a hundred years, and there’s almost no way it’s going to disappear soon. Need some good news after all that talk of poison plants? How about some pictures of 4,000 lavender plants?