Wild Parsnip

Pastinaca sativa

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pastinaca (pas-tin-NAY-kuh) (Info)
Species: sativa (sa-TEE-vuh) (Info)





Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Cary, Illinois

Hartford, Wisconsin

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 6, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This biennial is native to Europe and not N. America. Cultivated forms are grown as the annual vegetable parsnip. It has escaped from gardens and naturalized throughout N. America except for FL, GA, AL, and MS. The naturalized form has been legally declared a noxious weed in Ohio, and is considered invasive in numerous states. http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PASA2

Contact with the skin can cause a nasty dermatitis.


On Jul 10, 2013, toady17 from Lakeland Highlands, FL wrote:

Short video about skin toxicity of this plant. Beware!



On Jul 16, 2009, HeraMaxout from Bridport, VT wrote:

I had thought this plant was Heraculeum Maximum or cow parsnip which, I read, is a monster in its own right. We are trying to eliminate/eradicate Sastinaca Sativa from our land. Any help with this project will be greatly appreciated. Presently we are pulling it up, root (or as much as we can get of it) and all and, assuming that the root and plant stem will continue to develop the seeds, banishing it to the roadway where it is being dessicated and crushed by automobile traffic.
Washing with soap and water has removed the juices from our skin. We are also careful to try and work on it when it is cool and cloudy which is also when it's most comfortable to cover up possible exposed skin. I can't seem to work on it without sometime a piece of it brushes my face. Sweat and sunlight ar... read more


On Jun 21, 2007, daistuff from Cary, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I thought this might be yarrow coming up wild in my yard, so I wanted to find out about the worm that was destroying it. Turns out both are bad, and I threw the whole mess in soapy water. I read that wild parsnip makes furanocoumarins to ward off the parsnip webworm, and that is what makes it so noxious to humans, too. The worms are so nasty that they've learned to deal with it! It was hard to get the thick root (parsnip, I guess) out; hope it doesn't come back.


On Jan 20, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

may cause photodermatitis due to xanthotoxin


On Dec 18, 2003, lotsadirt from Hanover Park, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

At the camp my daughter attends in North westen IL, this plant is considered hazardous. Contact with it not only causes skin irritation but a photosynthesis like effect by the sun. The children who were chasing a soccer ball into a field of wild parsnip had to be bandaged to limit sun exposure which caused a sun burn like reaction. I was told it was not native to IL.