This Plant Could Ruin Your Summer. Be Careful

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This Plant Could Ruin Your Summer. Be Careful

This Plant Could Ruin Your Summer. Be Careful
This Plant Could Ruin Your Summer. Be Careful

With summer coming and the potential easing of social distancing around the corner, many of us are looking forward to getting out and away from the monotony of home life. 

Whether it’s a country walk, rambling or an outing on your bicycle there are still things you should be weary of. 

Last summer on a scorching hot day my family and I decided to take a walk, we had moved away from our usual route and into the countryside via a long dirt track which stretched through idyllic fields that were surrounded by scerene woodlands.

The walk went as you’d expect, my wife chasing my son while trying to put sunscreen on him, nature hunts, looking for pretty flowers and insects and playing ball..

That was until till my son kicked it into a ditch, it was quite shallow but had some tall weeds which I didn’t think anything of, putting caution to the wind I ventured in breaking and swatting the pesky weeds away and retrieving the ball like the hero I thought I was.

I climbed out and we carried on with our day without any more issues… or so I thought.  The following day I had started to feel a burning itching sensation on my forearms and the backs of my hands and they looked as if they had patches that had been burned.

Take a look at how wild parsnip can seriously burn and blister your skin:

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PSA: avoid wild parsnip plants! I got caught up in one by accident, and have paid the price for over a week. The chemicals in the sap, combined with this heat wave, caused a reaction called #phytophotodermatitis … I do NOT recommend it. I have no pics that show the early days of this. Wish I did, but would have needed a graphic content warning. The sap wasn’t just on my skin it was contained within hundreds of minuscule spikes left behind by the plant, that had travelled deep inside undetected before reacting to the sun a couple days later. As they emerged to the surface over time they caused small chemical burns (mostly just on my hands) treated with basic first aid and time. but the amount of the contaminant also caused a reaction that resulted in my feet and knees swelling up a week later, so I had to get meds for that. The car dashboard pic is from when I had to elevate my feet for almost an hour just to drive home from the doc. Never had the swollen feet before, even in pregnancies. @somakitty – new appreciation for what you went through with that. ps. fun fact: I have gone through more bandaids, gauze and medical tape in this past week than I have used in my entire rest of my life combined. 😂 I included a pic and some info about the #wildparsnip #wildparsnipburn #dangerousweeds

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On seeing the redness and welts I instantly washed with soap and water and applied a heavy regular dose of moisturiser until I could book an appointment with my Doctor.

Long story short those weeds were in fact Wild Parsnip, I would never for a minute think that a weed could have caused this until my Doctor filled me in as he’d seen it before.

After some additional research I discovered that they grew in nearly all fifty states and when crushed or broken the plants can release a poisonous  photochemical that is present in its juices and will react to UV light to cause blistering burns. 

This usually begins 24 hours after exposure and peaks between 48 and 72 hours.

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Invasive Plant Public Service Announcement! We saw our first blooming Wild Parsnip this weekend, and now seems like a great time to cover this troublesome invasive plant. Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a tall, biennial, poisonous plant that invades native prairies and disturbed habitats. It causes painful blisters when the juice or pollen of the plant comes in contact with skin and is exposed to sunlight, a phenomenon known as "photodermatitis." TAKE EXTREME CAUTION when removing this plant; wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves to protect yourself. In our experience, the risk of blistering is lowest when the plant is young, without flowers. It can be identified by the alternative leaf arrangement, made up of 5 -15 egg shaped leaflets along both sides of a common stalk. The leaflets are sharply-toothed or lobed at the margin, as seen here. Seed can remain viable in the soil for up to 4 years, so it is important to prevent the plant from reproducing. Organic control methods for young plants include hand-pulling or cutting the taproot just below the root crown and removing the top growth. With larger plants, you can often pull them right out of the ground after a good rain, or you can mow/cut down the tall vegetation to reduce the chance of skin contact, and then remove the plant by the roots. As a member of the Carrot (Apiaceae) family with yellow umbel flowers, there are a number of native look-alike plants, so don't be fooled! Prairie Moon offers the following species with similar yellow blossoms: Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea), Heart-leaved Golden Alexander (Zizia aptera), Yellow Pimpernel (Taenidia integerrim), Prairie Parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii), and Meadow Parsnip (Thaspium trifoliatum). #wildparsnip #poisonousplants #invasiveplants #invasivespecies #gardening #habitatrestoration #publicserviceannouncement #nature #naturegram #naturelovers #plantsofinstagram #IGnature #instabotany #botany #landmanagement #ecologicalrestoration #ecology #nativeplants #nativeplantsofnorthamerica #nativeflora #plantID #plantidentification #weeds #weedcontrol

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How to identify this plant

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🌼 Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) also known as Bird's nest is a biennial (two summer growing season) herb⁠ ⁠ 🌱 Can grow 4-5 feet tall⁠ ⁠ 🇺🇸🇨🇦 Commonly found in the United States and Canada along roadsides, pastures and fields⁠ ⁠ 🌼 Tiny yellow flowers bloom from June – July⁠ ⁠ ❗️It is considered an invasive specie, well-established fields are not likely to be invaded, only disturbed areas. It's very persistent so you gotta be careful once it's settled. ⁠ Efforts must be made while the infestation is still small and to prevent it to spread to new areas. Only remove it with gloves and high sleeves⁠ ⁠ ⚠️🚫 The plant produces a compound in its leaves that can cause intense burning and rashes on contact with the skin. Affected areas remain discoloured for up to TWO YEARS. There is no cure for parsnip burns. But you'd have to damage the plant in some way so the juices in it come in contact with your skin to cause the burning. And the reaction only occurs if there's sunlight contact, so if you enter in contact with the plant's juices, get away from the sunlight IMMEDIATELY and wash your skin with soap and water. Protect your skin from sunlight for 48 hours at least⁠ ⁠ 🌀 Also the essential oil of Wild parsnip's contains Myristicine, a strong hallucinogen⁠ ⁠ 🚫 Don't be tempted to touch these tiny beautiful flowers! ⁠ ⁠ ——————————————————⁠ ⁠ #nature #naturephotography #natureconnection #inspiredbynature #naturelover #photography #photographylovers #biology #botany #biologylovers #poisonousplants #poison #plant #herb #herbs #poisonous #wildparsnip #botanical #botanic #botanik

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So how can you identify this dangerous plant, these simple key points will help you avoid the issues I suffered so you can continue to have trouble free walks for years to come.

-Wild parsnip can grow upto five feet high
-The stem looks similar to celery with grooves running its full length
-They bloom between June and July and have flat topped yellow flower clusters
-They grow in well lit and moist areas

If you do happen to come in contact with the sap from this plant, cover straight away to stop the UV light activating and then wash the area as soon as possible with soap and water.

Remember, avoid sunlight for 36-48 hours to lessen the effects then seek medical advice. Generally once the sap has been activated by the UV light then washing will have no effect at all so remember to cover up ASAP!

So my words of advice.  Be careful and try not to take anything for granted, you never know what’s lurking in the undergrowth.

More interesting articles you may be interested in reading:

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