Wild Parsnip may not sound dangerous, but this toxic weed not only takes over gardens, it also causes painful side effects for individuals who come into contact with it. Officials have actually issued warnings to residents in Iowa and Illinois because the plant is spreading so rapidly, according to NBC Chicago.
Joyce Rimel, of Chicago, heard warnings on the news and decided to check out her backyard for the yellow, umbrella-shaped flower. “I never heard of it before, you know, and then to discover it in my own yard was like… oh my God!”
Rimel also noticed that the plant was growing in her neighbor’s yard.
The plant, which is typically two to five feet tall, yellow flowers and coarse leaves, excretes a sap that is toxic to the human skin. “Wild parsnips produce a sap, or plant juice, that can cause burns to the skin in the presence of sunlight. In some cases, the burns are similar to second-degree sunburns and can cause painful rashes and raised blisters,” according to the Vermont Department of Health.
If you come into contact with sap from the plant, wash you skin with soap and water as soon as possible and protect the exposed skin from sunlight for 48 hours, the Vermont Department of Health recommends.
If you want to get rid of the plant, do so on a cloudy day and wear clothing that covers all of your skin (including gloves). Wear protective eye gear if using a trimmer or mower.