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CAUTION: This wild parsnip leads to blistering burns

Monday, July 15th 2019, 5:59 pm - This plant is a member of the carrot and parsley family

A four-year-old boy is recovering from blistering burns after he touched a wild parsnip plant at a park in Ottawa, as reported by CTV News.

Ashlyn Young states that her son touched the plant on his way to a splash pad while attending summer camp. Young says that the blisters and burns are so severe that his hand is wrapped in bandages.

Skin contact with the sap of wild parsnips can cause a painful rash and blistering. Wild parsnip, which is also known as poison parsnip, is a member of the carrot and parsley family and is an invasive species that has been reported in all of the provinces and territories in Canada except for Nunavut.

The plant typically grows in unmaintained areas such as abandoned fields and roadsides and can quickly outcompete native plants. Invasive species typically have few predators and can reduce local biodiversity and eventually change landscapes.

big parsnip A flowering wild parsnip. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Identifiable features of wild parsnips include heights of approximately 1.5 metres tall, a single green stem that is two to five centimetres thick with a few hairs, yellowish-green flowers that form umbrella-shaped clusters, and compound leaves that are arranged in pairs with sharply toothed leaflets that are shaped like a mitten.

In the event that a person does touch the plant, it is recommended that they step out of direct sunlight and wash the impacted area of the skin with soap. Rubbing alcohol and antibiotic cream may be necessary in severe cases.

Sources: CTV News | Government of Ontario


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