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Child burned by wild parsnip; what you should look out for

The plant looks like celery and is likely to be found in high growth areas, like Kanata or Riverside South.
wild parsnip
Flowers grow in yellowish-green clusters. Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health

Wild parsnip is an invasive species of plant that is common on disturbed land and high growth areas.

Affected areas can include Kanata, Riverside South and other spots with high amounts of construction.

The plant has a stem with a yellowish head and leaves on the side that makes it look like celery.

Touching the plant won't immediately cause issues. Problems happen when sap from the stem of the plant comes into contact with the skin.

The sap contains chemicals that can cause blisters and burning sensations when exposed to the sun.

"Cover it up immediately and wash it thoroughly," said Laila Gibbons, director of roads and parking services with the City of Ottawa. "Continue to wash it to ensure you have none of the sap left on your skin."

There's been a renewed focus at the city to get information out to residents who could be affected.

"We've done an education program where information has gone out to schools, we're handing out cards at local events and there's information on the city's website," said Gibbons.

More information on wild parsnip can be found here.


About the Author: Chris Kurys

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