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Wild parsnip back in West St. Paul

Posted: June 15, 2017

 
Wild Parsnip back in West St. Paul
 
The RM is continuing to monitor and work with a contractor to deal with the presence of wild parsnip in some parts of the municipality.

The contractor sprayed last year to kill wild parsnip in several areas. The invasive plant, however, is back this year. Wild parsnip can be harmful to pets and humans as its sap can cause burns to skin.

It’s a member of the carrot/parsley family, but it can form dense stands that outcompete native plants, which reduces biodiversity. Though the root is edible, the stems, leaves and flowers contain chemicals that can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and cause severe irritation of the skin.

Wild parsnip can grow up to 1.5 metres tall. The single stem is two to five centimetres thick and smooth with few hairs. Compound leaves are arranged in pairs, with sharply toothed leaflets that are shaped like a mitten. Yellowish, green flowers form umbrella-shaped clusters 10 to 20 centimetres across and seeds are flat and round.

West St. Paul resident Darlene Jarvis has been vigilant in identifying wild parsnip in parts of the municipality. Jarvis has spotted them on the dike, especially near the Yacht Club, and also along the walking trail on the ditch side from Lister Rapids, heading south. Young plants lack the yellow flowers that make the older ones easier to identify, making them harder to spot.

If you see wild parsnip, please contact the RM and let staff know where they are.
 

Photos courtesy Darlene Jarvis