It is a plant which is not only an invasive species but a danger to those who come into contact with it.
Wild parsnip is being spotted in areas across the province, including here in the southeast. It has been seen most frequently along Highway 48, between Vibank and Kipling. The noxious weed, which has been seen in the province since at least 2010, is considered to be extremely dangerous when a person comes into contact with it thanks to the oils it produces.
“Getting any of the plant juices on their skin, that will sensitize their skin to sunlight, which will result in very severe sunburns,” explained Chet Neufeld, the executive director of the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan. The oils can also cause blisters and burns on the skin.
There is the added danger of the oils coming into contact with the mucous membranes, as well as the eyes. Wild parsnip can cause blindness.
Neufeld described the plant as appearing similar to dill. The yellow flowers create a distinct flat top appearance, which can be visible from the highway. It prefers environments which have a lot of disturbance, such as ditches alongside highways, which is why it is being seen adjacent to Highway 48.
It is recommended if you see the plant to call the weed inspector for the rural municipality you are in.
If you happen to come into contact with the plant, Neufeld recommends washing the affected skin with soap and water and seeking medical attention.