ToriG's picture

Wild Parsnip or Greater Burnet Saxifrage?

Observed: 6th June 2013 By: ToriG
Whole plant
lower leafy stem
thicker leafy stem
inside stem
leaf stalks onto stem
thickest stem

This is growing in my garden. I have been desperate to identify it but have failed at every turn to make a certain identification.
Leaves are hairless but sharply toothed,
main stem is round with no ridges
main stem not hollow
root is creamy white like parsnip but smaller.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Rachy Ramone's picture

If it IS wild parsnip...

...well, Pastinaca sativa has flower stems that are hollow, except for around the nodes, where they are solid. As yours isn't flowering yet, that could be why the stem is not hollow.

I'd be careful with licking/chewing unidentified things: if it is parsnip, the roots are edible but the leaves and stem contain sap that is not exactly poisonous, but strongly irritant, and can cause similar photo-sensitivity and blistering as does Giant Hogweed. That goes for Greater Burnet Saxifrage as well!

Having said all that, Greater Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella major) is described as "smooth" and P. sativa as "downy" so as the thing you have is not downy, but looks smooth and shiny... well, on balance it might be GBS.

Sorry not to be more helpful.

Rachy Ramone

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