Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Danger - Wild Parsnip

Through a chain of emails from one concerned nurse to many others and so on finally to my wife I got a warning about Wild Parsnip, a non-native, invasive and poisonous plant that is appearing alarmingly fast and widespread now. I have seen lots of wild Parsnip along the roads here in the wider Hartford, WI area.

I want to pass this warning on to as many people as I possibly can. The original email read (some emphasis added and typos corrected):
I wanted to take a moment to write to you to tell you our county is now completely covered with wild parsnip plants and these plants are very dangerous. Unfortunately very few people know about them. I feel it is urgent that you be aware of these plants so that you may effectively treat your patients and also educate your community too.  

Wild Parsnip causes
phytophotodermatitis to the skin.  When plant juices come in contact with the skin nothing happens but when this same skin is exposed to sunlight a rash with significant blistering can occur.  The skin discoloration and sun sensitivity from this plant can last months, even years.

Please familiarize yourself with this plant as it truly has taken over our county and the accompanying burns will most likely be something you will be seeing more and more of in your practice.
In the beginning paragraph I have linked to Wild Parsnip on Wikipedia. Please read the paragraph titled Dangers.

And here are examples of what Wild Parsnip looks like:
"Harmless" little plant...
... with nice leaves and ...

... many of these plants by the roadside can actually look quite nice!

But the rash and the blisters show the plant's ugly side!
I hope many of you see this and take action when you see the plant! Thank you.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

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