Avoid Poison Parsnip

Roadside Wildflowers

When on vacation, we often get a chance to “smell the flowers.” We may even choose to cut some and arrange them for display on the dinner table. With our vacation glasses on, even the wildflowers that many consider weeds look pretty. However, there are some wildflowers to watch out for. They could ruin your vacation!

Queen Anne's Lace Wildflower
Queen Anne’s Lace Wildflower

If you’ve ever picked wildflowers before, I’m guessing you’ve picked Queen Anne’s Lace. It’s the omnipresent weed flower that really offers beauty to any wildflower arrangement.

But when you’re on Vermont roadsides collecting this white beauty, you may come across a very similar flowering plant, except that it’s yellow.


Queen Anne's Lace and Poison Parsnip
Queen Anne’s Lace and Poison Parsnip

Poison Parsnip Sap Is Bad!

If you happen to accidentally brush up against Poison Parsnip, you’ll likely be OK. It’s the sap within the plant that can cause you harm. When the sap is on your skin and then sunlight hits it, you are likely to get burns similar to second-degree sunburns that can cause painful rashes and raised blisters.

If you get the sap on your skin:

  • Wash your skin with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • For at least 48 hours, avoid sunlight on the exposed skin.
  • If you have some reaction from the sap, seek advice from your health care provider.

Learn More

You can learn more from the Vermont Department of Health’s Web site.

Unless you’re knowledgeable about what you’re picking, it’s best to enjoy the colorful wildflowers where they grow!

Comingled Weed Flowers

Queen Anne’s Lace, the safe roadside flower, is often co-mingling with the not-safe Poison Parsnip.

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