Parsnip plant

What does it look like?

 Why is it dangerous?

Handling the parsnip plant, which grows wild and is cultivated in gardens and allotments, may make your skin very sensitive to light, leading to burning, blisters and a painful rash.

The plant’s sap  contains chemicals called furoumarins. These chemicals are absorbed by the skin and can then react with sunlight, causing skin inflammation.

How can I avoid it?

Watch out for wild parsnip plants in roadside ditches and along railway tracks. Do not pick any wild flowers.

What to do if I come into contact with it?

  1. DO NOT touch your eyes
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. Keep your skin covered and well hidden from daylight.
  4. If you develop blisters or feel generally unwell, go to see a doctor.

Extra information

The Royal Horticultural Society website has advice on how to keep your family safe from potentially harmful garden plants. You can also call its helpline on 0845 260 8000, from 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm.


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