Be on the Lookout for Wild Parsnip This Summer [PHOTOS]
Sometimes plants that look harmless can actually cause you some serious pain.
Often mistaken for Queen Ann’s lace or wild dill, CBS 2 states that "wild parsnip can be identified by its flat yellow flowers and a grooved stem." Although it may look like a pretty little flower, touching it can have some not-so-pretty consequences. Chuck Ungs, a Naturalist with Linn County Conservation, told CBS 2, “Essentially what it does is give you the worst sunburn you've ever had in your life." An article from Iowa State University Extension & Outreach reads, "The results are skin reddening, rash development and in severe cases, blisters, skin discoloration, and burning or scalding type pain."
So where exactly can you find wild parsnip? It's actually very common here in Iowa and is often found along ditches, on pathways, and in parks. If you spend a lot of time walking or biking the trails here in Eastern Iowa, you've probably seen it quite a bit this year. The plant typically blooms from May through July. You should avoid touching it, but if you do come into contact with it, wash it off with soap and water and quickly as you can. If you start to develop the negative side effects, seek medical attention.
Here's a look at the plant so you can keep an eye out for it: