- 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.