Pastinaca sativa L. - Parsnip

Pastinaca sativa plant

Family - Apiaceae

Stems - No info. yet.

Pastinaca sativa stem

Leaves - No info. yet.

Pastinaca sativa leafAdaxial leaf surface.

Pastinaca sativa leafAbaxial leaf surface.

Inflorescence - No info. yet.

Flowers - No info. yet.

Pastinaca sativa flowersFlowers.

Pastinaca sativa fruitsDeveloping fruits.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Fields, waste ground, cultivated ground, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - This big and weedy species is the commonly eaten "Parsnip." The plant grows to over 1.5m tall and is very robust. The white root of the plant can grow to over 80cm on rare occasions but is typically much much smaller. In Missouri, P. sativa can be found in most parts of the states except for much of the Ozark region.
Cultivated plants are of the variety hortensis Ehrh., which has the large root. Another variety, var. pratensis Pers., has thin roots.
Some people may have an allergic reaction when handling this species. This is due to the xanthotoxin the plant contains. This reaction is a photodermatitis. Native Americans used a tea made from the roots to treat female disorders and sharp pains.

Photographs taken off Hwy 47, Franklin County, MO., 5-15-04.


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