Giant Hogweed Is Bad, But This Wild Parsnip Plant Is WORSE

by | Jul 26, 2018 | Headline News | 34 comments

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    Reports of the giant hogweed burning, blistering, and blinding both humans and animals have been going around lately.  But there’s another plant we should worry about that’s even worse: the wild parsnip.

    Giant hogweed and wild parsnip are closely related; both are a part of the taxonomic family Apiaceae that also includes carrots, celery, parsley, coriander, and fennel. Wild parsnip is more dangerous than the giant hogweed mostly because it’s more abundant.  It has burned and blistered more people than the giant hogweed has.  According to The Democrat and Chronicle, the spindly plant with yellow-green flowers is all over the place, it’s uncontrollable, and it has a bite. “We have a lot of people that call with wild parsnip burns,” said Naja Kraus, who heads New York state’s effort to control giant hogweed.

    Wild parsnip, sometimes also called hobo parsnip, is the free-range version of the well-known root vegetable. Like the giant hogweed, it made it’s way to the Americas from Eurasia and is now a noxious weed; and dangerous ones at that.  One woman, horribly found this out the hard way.

    According to Fox 10 Phoenix, a woman from Vermont received the equivalent of second-degree chemical burns to her legs after falling into a wild parsnip plant. She now wants to warn others to look out for this seemingly innocent plant. Around the first of July, Charlotte Murphy, of Essex, Vermont, was traveling to the southern part of the state for her internship with a local artist. When she stopped on the side of the road, she lost her footing and fell into the plant, breaking it, causing the sap from the wild parsnip plant to come in contact with her bare legs.  She was left with yellow colored blisters on her legs.

    To identify a wild parsnip, look at its leaves, flowers, and unique stem:

    • Leaves are placed in symmetrical sets on branches with at least 5 sets per branch
    • Flowers come in clusters of tiny yellow flowers, similar to Queen Anne’s Lace
    • Stem has deep vertical ridges unlike almost any other plant

    In its first year of life, the plant will exist in a non-flowering state.  At this time, you will be able to identify it by its symmetrical sets of leaves on the branches, and non-flowering leaf rosettes at ground-level.  In its second year, the plant will begin to flower.

    Safety measures should be taken if you attempt to remove a wild parsnip. Much like the giant hogweed removal process, don’t use a weed whacker or mower on these plants, as that will cause the sap to leak our everywhere.  Wear gloves and long sleeves if carrying the plant after removal. If your skin contacts the plant at any time and for any reason, wash the area immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention.

    *Cow parsnip is often mistaken for giant hogweed.  Please go here if you would like to familiarize yourself with the differences.


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      1. That shit looks painful. Let’s expose Hillary’s face to it along with obozo, Holder, and some other deserving scumbags.

        • Looks like someone already did!

          • Off topic. The latest Michael Cohen news is that he’s the “man in the center of it all” and he’ll be the one to bring down the Donald. When people find out that Cohen and trump actually planned this out, it’s gonna make a lot of people look like bigger fools than they already are. Masterful

        • Yes my ancestors killed Native Americans

          Yes they took slaves

          Yes they killed all the furry animals of the forest for fur coats

          Yes they made big money

          Yes I love my ancestors

          I built a shrine to them

      2. A plant which has a chemical irritant like poison ivy is not removed by standard soap. That is why poison ivy soap is sold and it additionally contains jewelweed to neutralize and stop a histamine reaction.

        It’s smart to have a bar or make some soap yourself. People who work outside who are routinely exposed frequently have this kind of soap on hand.

        Some unique saponin profile removes the specific oils. In the case of poison ivy, that removed irritant is urishiol. It may not be effective on wild parsnip or hogweed though.

        • Wash immediately and thoroughly all skin surfaces and exposed hair, after contact with Poison Ivy/sumac/oak with plenty of DISH SOAP and warm water (not hot) and do not scrub the skin while washing. Use a washcloth instead with light pressure and no scrubbing.

          Having had severe rashes often as a kid and getting it on my junk downstairs too many times (you don’t really really really don’t want that to happen).

          Dish soap quickly breaks up and removes the Erucia oil.

          Also, wash all suspected contaminated clothing with dish soap in hot water as well, because you will re expose yourself if you handle the clothing without a minimal washing in some soap and water, but machine washed in hot is best. Be careful handling any work gloves you wore as well as you will re-expose ( for a long time after initial contact) sensitive areas if you are not thinking about it (like wiping sweat of your brow or scratch any open skin or swat bugs, or take a piss outdoors after touching your work gloves. If you can, wash your gloves outside with dish soap as well and air dry.

          Just saying, I have too much personal experience with poison ivy/oak/sumac and many days suffering from severe swelling and rashes.

        • The sap does not injure until it is exposed to sunlight. Wash off immediately and no problem. The sap is photo reactive so stay out of the sunlight.Once it burns you then it is too late.

      3. Ouch!


      4. Never ever using burning to remove poisonous plants or ones with chemical irritants. All that does is liberate the volatile oils as fumes which then gets collects in the lungs and iritates the bronchial tubes and alveoli. In a worse case situation, it could transfer to your blood across the tiny capillaries where carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged and cause ANAPHYLLACTIC SHOCK and DEATH.

        Instead of one person getting a chemical burn, you harmed a whole family and possibly your neughbors.

        On a side note, always use gloves when cutting hot peppers because these same chemical irritants coat your hands and as people constantly touch their faces, then get into your eyes. This is DANGEROUS as many wear contact lenses and thus an eye injury could happen. And if you were stupid enough to take your lens out and put them back in, harm your eyes a second time. These chemicals are often oils that bind to the soft lens of contacts.

        • Woman next door was burning poison ivy when I was a kid, fumes blew across the yard the length of her house, in a window, and nearly killed her daughter. The daughter on a dare had rolled in poison ivy, and was now allergic to it. Thus mom was trying to eradicate it.

          Surprise to me the stinging nettle which causes severe reactions, isn’t dangerous in the first few weeks of growth and turns out to not just be edible, but really nutritious. Even mature plants can be pulled and the roots are edible as well they can make tea, but don’t touch the mature stems or leaves or you’ll be in agony.

          • Same thing nearly killed my sister. Horrible blisters outside and in her mouth and throat.

        • Amen sister. The allergic people, this sucks supremely. Waaay worse than pneumonia.

      5. Here’s a little factoid from history. The crushing blow in the First Crusade happened at the Horns of Hattin. What happened was the army left the highly defensive walls at Jerusalem to go look for Saladin. They wasted a huge effort, and when dehydrated Saladin BURNED plants and the desert winds caused the fumes to utterly sap the morale of the Crusaders. The Muslims crushed them like insects and then laid siege to a defenseless Jerusalem.

        They only held out due to Bailian of Ibelin who got ordinary men to defend the city until a parlay could be made to allow the inhabitants to leave.

        Dehydration and fumes from fire ended Christian control of Jerusalem.

        A raider could do exactly the same thing when the SHTF. Or a prepper could use similar tactics when outnumbered.

        • Actually the crusaders castles where really well built fortresses. what happened was the invaders cut every tree except the olives. Then they made wooden turtles that allowed the to get close to the castle walls without being pelted with rocks or shot with arrows or have boiling oil poured on them. then the dug tunnel’s under the castle and piled all the wood in them. lit it and slow roasted the crusaders. They also had Catapults and hurled dead rotting animals & garbage over the walls. And if they captured anyone they used them for slaves and when they where no longer useful they catapulted live humans over the walls. Laying siege to a crusader castle was a kind of party to them.

        • That’s why it’s essential to carry a firestarter when shtf, or even NOW. If the circumstances are right, setting fire to brush can cover your escape, a last resort of course, only when your life is at stake. It reminds me of Cornel Wilde’s escape in the movie “Naked Prey”. That was a movie!

          Moral of the story, always carry a firestarter.

      6. The picture with the article is not very clear but it kind of looks like Tansy.

      7. Neighbors in NorseLand all cleared their roadside yards all the way to the asphalt and planted grass. Bah! I said, let nature have a 10 foot strip. I won’t have to mow it and it’s good for my Mason bees. But if this is nature at work, I might change my mind.

      8. Thanks for a great article and also remember with poisonous ivy or any other type of chemical burn process- use COLD water/soap- warm or hot water opens the skin pores and makes things worse- also more inflammation due to increased circulation with hot water

      9. Organic compounds can be nasty. Ran across a YouTube vid where a guy crushed apple seeds in a hydraulic press then tested for cyanide the levels were off the charts

      10. When young, one of my early jobs was pulling weeds and doing sickling of fields and clearing out debris from ponds and mowing grass. I was doing this when most were playing after school. Anyways, I pulled some stinging nettles and the next day my hands were covered with blisters. I actually was wearing cotton gloves but the needles went through.

        Well I ended up taking steroids to get the swelling down, and I still never missed any days of work.

        People with allergies can actually take dried nettles in capsule form ahead of the seasonal allergy period and it both gives a moderate amount of Vitamin C but most importantly tempers the histamine response and many find a great lessoning of their typical allergic reaction.

        There is some correlation between sensitivity in mood and allergic reaction which is interesting.

        You are supposed to knock off the spines and shave stinging nettle stalks down with a knife to avoid this chemical reaction so you can eat them.

        In general when an allergist checks for sensitivity, then will take various kinds of pollen and apply it to the skin in dilluted form and watch for a histamine response. Then they offer the patient a measured amount through a shot to lessen the histamine response to temper the ailment and improve this over time. But it’s risky because there always is a potential for anaphyllactic shock. It’s why there is a wait afterwards when a patient is given their allergy shot. And yet, patients often will up and leave istead of waiting which is incredibly dumb! They could end up choking to death as their throat swells.

        • Scary that a state can decide who is fit to use the 2nd amendment.

      11. The wild parsnip is a descendant of the cultivated kind and is edible. It is related to carrots and Queen Anne’s lace (which is also edible). The root is the main part that’s eaten.

        You do need to be careful when harvesting wild parsnips.

        Here’s an article. It doesn’t mention the burn possibilities, but someone mentions it in the comments at the bottom.

        ht tp://

      12. shows white flowers.

        shtfplan shows yellow.


          In general since farmers have to be able to identify “weeds”, then agriculture websites set up by the government often are fairly accurate. They can have flowers that are yellow or white but ALWAYS generally have five petals and a celery-like stalk and leaves.

          Mutations can occur but not affect all the plants in the same manner. Say finding a four leaf clover instead of a three leaved normal clover and that can mutate into five six, seven, eight, nine, or ten but each is successively more rare a mutation.

      13. Use caution when identifying plants because there are often slight differences in species over time. While common plantain (soldier’s herb) has common characteristics, all varieties do not look precisely the same. Thus when using these as an edible or medicinal, you really need a mentor who will challenge you when identifying as they are hard on you (like drill sergeants) to save your life.

        Some mentors are better than others. Some may be very knowledgable on the species intheir region (say a Native American elder or shaman) but not be as familiar as a botanist. Some botanists know very specific species, not all species. A master garden who is certified may know ordinary agricultural herbs, fruits, and vegetables but not know wild edibles or non native invasive species that for all intents and purposes were introduced and cultivated from Europe but now have grown wild.

      14. When I was a teen I got into a scuffle with a Bully. And he was bigger and beat me up pretty good. Probably brused his knuckles on my face. However we fought in a poison ivy patch And I didn’t have any problem. He was covered & had to spend three weeks in the Hospital. Even the teachers thought it was funny.

        • I think, there are different tolerance levels, probably leading up to anaphylaxis.

          Some of these, I can smell. Some cause mild asthma, in my case, and I leave, unmedicated, bare-legged, and in hiking sandals.

          Thick skinned.

          Common sense says to be careful, where it is thinner.

      15. Physicians do NOT like doing it, but in history, a large dose cortisone shot can dry up a terrible case of poison ivy. You can’t do it often, and they are very reticent to do so, but if you justhave to get well because you need to work and use your hands which are terribly swollen, they may relent it for you are insistent.

        Otherwise they give a prescription in oral form which starts with a higher dose and tapers off gradually and that will work albeit slowly.

        Any drug taken orally is filtered by the liver in what is called the “first pass effect”. The liver sees a foreign substance and tries to filter it out, but finally is overcome. This is why you often take drugs to build up a therapeutic level in your bloodstream and THEN it is effective. This irritates a lot of pople because they expect instant results.

        Your stomach has a collection of arteries around it, and when a drug is broken down, they pass across these arteries to give delayed relief contigent upon normal digestion. Obviously if a patient has digestive issues, that is going to interfere.

        That is why when in a physician’s office or at a medical center, an injection is given directly into the bloodstream and then it more rapidly overcomes the first pass effect.

        Some drugs are injected IM and that means intramuscular and this is quite different.

        Some drugs can be applied sublingually ie under the tongue to rapidly get into the bloodstream.

        An inhaler uses the process of gas exchange across the alveoli and then across those capillaries to get into the blood stream. This is why smoking so quickly gets into the blood, and in history jimson weed was sometimes smoked in small amounts when people had asthma as they need to rapidly work else they could pass out and die from inadequate oxygen levels. Understanding that and bromelain from pineapples might be the only treatment you have under SHTF scenarios.

        Lastly there are suppositories that are used to offer medication due to absorbtion through capillaries and this is quitre fast and typically utilized when the patient has extreme nausea and vomiting such that they can’t swallow a pill and have it digested.

        I suggest that all preppers have Emetrol on hand because when someone is pregnant, there are very things they can safely take for nausea. It’s just phosphoric acid and sugar. This is why simply drinking some ginger ale works well with nausea. That is slightly less effective due to the strength. In a bad case, you would put a tiny amount of fresh ginger in Emetrol to boost it.

        You should expect pregnancy under SHTF conditions as people are genuinely afraid and apt to not be careful. This is why good vitamins are essential for all but especially any women of childbearing years.

        For family planning, you would use the cervical mucus method, the basal temperature method, and the rhythm method and chart all three in a journal. It actually has at least a 90% effective rate if you do all three.

        Pregnant women have a high mortality rate under SHTF conditions. You have to plan for mistakes.

      16. If you are interested in wild edible plants, take this common sense advice.

        Skip the mushrooms as even experts have made mistakes and gotten poisoned.

        Learn 20 wild edibles that produce the most in nutrition, can be harvested locally, offer medicinal value if possible, have a practical value if possible ie are useful to make cordage or some such, and are easy to identify.

        Use that as the foundation and build upon that. Do not overharvest as if you do, it won’t be there next year. And realize that many plants are important to various species who dine upon it or live near it. If you fail to be cognizant of that fact, then trapping and hunting will falter with those species.

        In time, say three years, expand the repertoie to 50 wild edibles and take note when you found them ripening for harvest. It is a race to find them before the insects, birds,mammal find them OR to find them before they get woody OR before they broadcast their seed OR fall to the ground and rot.

        Journeling is the best way to record what you find. You probably will accumulate ideas and transfer the wisdom to a master journal because you will make mistakes like picking too early or late or realizing a frost is needed (like for persimmons). Take note of animal activity as that may guide your trapping bait.

        YHWH’s intention was for human beings to be stewards of the Earth not thieves. It is all a garden of sorts that you are managing even if the SHTF.

      17. If you’re the kind of person who can spend a week learning ancestral skills in an intensive educational experience, then you might consider Frank and Karen Sherwood or make your own inquiries about similar well known and well thought of experts.

        Frank is the nicest guys, calm, wise and fun to learn from. Karen is one of the top experts on wild edibles in America. When I met her many decades ago, she was so humble, patient, and sweet as well as wise. Still waters run deep.

        But equally consider learning from a local who knows the species in your region. Native American shaman are reticent to train someone outside the tribe and are very difficult mentors and will not tolerate disrespect. Be forewarned.

        • I have a better, verbal memory than most, have received some honors for that, and spent sacrificially, on books, at times.

          When an ethnologist writes-down a verbally transmitted culture, as soon as someone dies, or becomes geographically separated, it’s an improvisational game of telephone.

          Where someone has direct, personal experience, or can demonstrate the use of some plant, or trap, or other skill, I have a pragmatic approach to that.

          It changes within an hour’s walk.

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