There is an increasing amount of attention being directed to one particular plant in the United States. That plant is referred to as wild parsnip.
It grows in many different environments, including dry areas, wetlands, prairies, and oak openings. Many locations throughout the United States have these plants in some number.
It has a long, thick taproot that is edible. When they flower, they have a single thick stem that contains hundreds of umbellate flowers. They can grow upwards of four feet in height depending on where the plant is growing.
They are commonly mixed up with prairie parsley as both have similar small yellow flowers and nearly identical looking leaves.
The reason behind the plant receiving attention is because it poses a threat to those who venture anywhere near them as there is a poisonous sap that exists on the outside of the plant.
If touched, the sap can combine with sunlight and cause the skin to burn, sometimes severely. These burns can be compared to second degree sunburns. In some instances, painful rashes and blisters can occur.
It is advised to avoid areas where these wildflowers grow, but if you do have to work around them, it is important to cover your eyes and mouth with plenty of protection. In addition, if you come into contact, wash the area with soap and water thoroughly, protect the area from sunlight for at least two days, and if a rash occurs, consult your physician immediately.