wild parsnip
Pastinaca sativa L.


Pastinaca sativa is a biennial/perennial herb that looks and smells similar to cultivated parsnip and can grow up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) in height.
Leaves are alternate, compound and branched with jagged teeth. Leaflets are yellowish-green, shiny, oblong, coarsely-toothed, and diamond-shaped.
Flowering occurs from May to June, when hundreds of yellow flowers develop. Flowers are arranged in an umbel.
Fruits are dry, smooth, slightly winged and flattened on back. Fruits each contain two seeds, which are dispersed in the fall.
Ecological Threat
Pastinaca sativa is native to Eurasia and occurs in sunny areas with varying degrees of soil moisture. Contact with this plant can cause skin to become photosensitive; exposure to sunlight can cause severe blistering. Be aware, poison hemlock and water hemlock are close in appearance and are often confused with Pastinaca sativa. Poison hemlock has a mouse-like odor while Pastinaca sativa has a parsnip-like odor. Water hemlock prefers wet habitats whereas Pastinaca sativa prefers dry soils.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Pastinaca
Subject: Pastinaca sativa L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
wild parship


Plants - Forbs/Herbs