Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant new to the East Kootenay. (Weed Warrior Frank photos)

The Weed Warrior: an invasive weed, new to the East Kootenay

Wild Parsnip is a plant that most of us don’t want to have a Close Encounter of any Kind with

Wild Parsnip is an invasive weed, new to the East Kootenay. It is a plant that most of us don’t want to have a Close Encounter of any Kind with.

Wild Parsnip is a biennial that can grow as tall as an adult human in its second, flowering year.

All of its above ground parts — little yellow flowers that grow in an umbel (flat-topped candelabra shape) on a grooved stem that extends up from the plant’s tooth-edged mitten-shaped leaves — contain a poisonous sap that can make contacted skin allergic to sunlight, causing a nasty blistered rash on you or the face of your curious dog, the next time you go outside on a sunny day.

If either you or your puppy touch Wild Parsnip or brushes by this plant with bare skin, immediately cover the affected body part to keep sunlight away until you can thoroughly wash any poisonous sap off with soap and water.

A Saskatchewan CBC News website article tells us that Wild Parsnip can be confused with Common Tansy or Golden Alexander that also have small yellow flowers on stem-top umbels. However, the leaves on those plants have shapes that are different than the chubby mitten leaves on Wild Parsnip that can divide into several leaflets.

Golden Alexander has narrow spearhead-shaped, tooth-edged leaves, and Tansy has fern-like leaves.

An Ontario website, invadingspecies.com, says Wild Parsnip was probably brought to North America by European Settlers to eat its carrot-like root, then it escaped from their gardens, as did so many other transplants brought here from other continents. It can form dense stands crowding out native plants and farmer’s crops.

There is something to be said for having to grow all your vegetables and herbs in an insulated and heated greenhouse — very few successful escapees.

Wild Parsnip can now be found in all US States, and every Canadian Province and Territory except Nunavut.

So far, the only reported location of Wild Parsnip in the Regional District of East Kootenay is in the Bummer’s Flats area between Fort Steele and Wasa, but the seeds of this invader like to hitchhike on people, animals and vehicles, along transportation routes.

Which means we need everybody to watch out for Wild Parsnip on their road travels and hikes, and report any suspected plants to the RDEK or East Kootenay Invasive Species Council with accompanying photos and map locations, if possible.

I recommend you go to ekisc.com and download the Report a Weed App on your phone, found in the Get Involved Section of the EKISC website. If you choose to tackle eliminating a Wild Parsnip patch yourself, be sure to wear protective clothing and rubber gloves, and garbage bag the plant for the Transfer Station. Never compost invasive plants.

Then, carefully remove and tub-wash your protective clothing in soap and water, so none of Wild Parsnip’s poisonous Sap gets on your skin. Let’s be safe out there while we protect our environment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eight-time Canadian long drive champion Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk plays Trickle Creek

Calgary’s Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk, the eight-time women’s Canadian Long Drive National Champion… Continue reading

Kimberley Splash Park reopens this Friday

Kimberley kids will be delighted to hear that the Rotary Splash Park… Continue reading

Cranbrook Pride society organizes different kind of event this year due to COVID-19

The Cranbrook Pride Society had to be creative in planning this year’s… Continue reading

The Tumbleweeds perform at live and socially distant concert in Kimberley

On Friday, the Kimberley Golf Club hosted a wonderful event. For $30,… Continue reading

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Most Canadians do not want US border reopened

There was a minor hullabaloo, and an impressive Twitter ratio, late last… Continue reading

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Most Read