I’m trying my best not to freak out over the Cicadas that are expected this summer. They won’t harm flowers I am told, (thank goodness, or you know I would be at every wedding hiding out with a fly swatter!). Anyway, what I would like to warn you all about are two invasive species of flowers that are showing up not very far from the Hudson Valley.
The first is known as “Poison Parsnip”. This yellow toned, lacey beauty looks like Queen Anne’s Lace, and a little bit like Yarrow. My Mother was affected terribly by this plant after gardening in the Adirondacks a few years ago. That is when it was first brought it to my attention.
This poisonous plant reacts with UV sunlight, and causes mild to in some cases quite severe second degree burns! A mild case can cause red skin, like a steam burn from your tea kettle. Many times blotches and skin discoloration may last for a few years.
The sap is not an oil, unlike poison ivy, so it won’t linger on your clothes, pets, lawn mowers, etc. Being phytotoxic, one must come in contact with the sap in the sun in order to get the burn. Here is an article with some more information:
And here is what Wikipedia had to say about it:
“While the root of the parsnip is edible, handling the shoots and leaves of the plant requires caution as the sap is toxic. Like many other members of the family Apiaceae, the parsnip contains furanocoumarin, a photosensitive chemical that causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis. The condition is a type of chemical burn rather than an allergic reaction, and is similar to the rash caused by poison ivy. Symptoms include redness, burning, and blisters. Afflicted areas can remained discolored for up to two years. Although there have been some reports of gardeners experiencing toxic symptoms after coming into contact with foliage, these have been small in number compared to the number of people that grow the crop. The problem is most likely to occur on a sunny day when gathering foliage or pulling up old plants that have gone to seed. The symptoms have mostly been mild to moderate. The toxic properties of parsnip extracts are resistant to heating, or a storage period of several months. Toxic symptoms can also affect livestock and poultry in parts of their bodies where their skin is exposed.“
But Poisonous parsnip isn’t the only plant we should be worrying about! Then there is the dreaded, GIANT HOGWEED! This gigantic beauty is also looks similar to Queen Anne’s Lace, but is listed as a Federally noxious weed by the EPA! It may even cause blindness!!! Holy cow! Here is the EPA’s announcement about it: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/39809.html
Please be careful out there fellow gardeners and DIY brides especially!!! These plants will mess you up if you aren’t careful! If there was ever a season to maybe splurge on professionally designed flowers for your wedding or home decor, this would be the one! Be safe out there friends!