WILD PARSNIP

Pastinaca sativa

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZumbel
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 
smell
smell8stinks smell8reeks smell8unpleasant smell8malodorous smell8pungent smell8awful
stinks
toxicity
toxicityZlowish
 

8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Spreading in an old dune slack.


27th June 2005, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Reaches up to 2m high.


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Umbels flattish, only slightly lensed, yellow flowers surrounding green seed pods. Lower leaves pinnate.


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Triply umbellate. Green seed pods and yellow flowers in separate sub-umbels. Loweest stems may be ridged for rigidity.


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Yellow flowered umbels surrounding central green umbel bearing pods.


Formby Dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The umbel from above.


Formby Dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Zooming in to the umbel, triply fractal.


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Flowers have five yellow petals, curved inwards to resemble a PP9 battery terminal (-ve end) and each with two stamens bearing yellow pollen. (Lower green flowers not yet opened). Slightly hairy stems.


Formby Dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The central umbel, petals curved inwards.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The small flowers have 5 equal-sized rolled-inward petals and five stamens tipped with anthers bearing cream-coloured pollen.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
A flower in close-up. The two small yellowish studs in the centre are the stigmas.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The pale-green rear of the flower will become the fruit pod.


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Flattened ovoidal fruit pods; the two short pale-yellow stigmas remain splayed-out on top.


Formby Dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The flattened ovoidal seed pods.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
View from the thinner side of the oval fruit pods, with two stigmas Splayed-out still attached.


8th July 2009, Birkdale dunes, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves are pinnate, may have triangular-shaped lobes, and smaller triangular-shaped teeth. Mid green.


Not to be confused with : Wild Parsley, Garden Parsley nor with Cow Parsley, Fool's Parsley, Milk Parsley, Stone Parsley or Upright Hedge-Parsley [plants of similar names, but all belonging to the Umbellifer/Apiaceae Family, and nearly all have non-yellow flowers].

Not so easily confused with: Garden Parsley, which has greenish-yellow flowers, is less than 18 inches high and has shiny leaves that are highly crinkled (like parsly, which is what it is). Despite the similarity in names, Garden Parsley belongs to a different Genus, Petroselinium, which despite the name, contains no Selenium of note within it (a slightly different spelling too).

Not to be confused with : Alexanders which is another yellow-flowered Umbellifer, but Alexanders has hemi-spherical umbels, inflated bracts, and leaves of a darker and shinier green that end in triplets of even size.

The only other yellow-flowered umbellifers that it could be mistaken for are Fennel and Hog's Fennel, which both have wispy wiry stem leaves that in no way resemble normal flat leaves, or Pepper-saxifrage which has much narrower pinnate leaves (including the terminal leaflet).

There is also a Garden Parsnip (Pastinaca Sativa ssp. hortensis) with which it may be mistaken, but that has rather few and short strainght hairs rather than the long and wavy ones of Wild Parsnip.

The one remaining possibility is that it is the sub-species Pastinaca sativa subsp. urens but that is only found in five hectads well South and East of Birmingham.

Slight resemblance to : Rock Samphire [an atypical umbellifer].

Wild Parsley occupies bare places, grassy places, roadsides, and old sand dunes, but it will also grow well away from the sea. It is pungent when crushed, smelling unpleasant.

COUMARINS and FUROCOUMARINS


Tissues of Wild Parsnip grown in culture produced several coumarins and furocoumarins, such as Psoralen, Bergapten, Isopimpinellin, Umbelliferone and Xanthotoxin. Because of its phototoxicity, only 2% of bergapten is allowed in perfumes and tanning lotions (where it absorbs harmful UV).



Wild Parsnip infected by certain plant pathogenic fusaria (a fungus) produce Trichothecenes, which are plant phytotoxins and potent inhibitors of protein synthesis in eukaryotes. The roots of Wild Parsnip, when so infected, accumulates high levels of fungitoxic furocoumarins, mainly Xanthotoxin (aka Mothoxysalen and 8-methoxyPsoralen) and Angelicin.



  Pastinaca sativa  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carrot family8Apiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Pastinaca
Pastinaca
(Parsnips)

WILD PARSNIP

Pastinaca sativa

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]

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