You'll want to wear long sleeves and pants anytime you're working around this weed in your yard.

Funny thing is, it doesn't really look that harmful.

The Little Yellow Flowers That Cause Blisters

I didn't think anything of it when the little, yellow flowers sprouted from the ground along our front sidewalk. It looked like yet another weed that would eventually get pulled once life with two young kids slowed down. (Narrator's Voice: But life, in fact, would never slow down.)

As the weed continued to grow taller, I started to grow fond of those yellow flowers and what they brought to the front of the house. It seemed like a cheap way to add some color to the yard.

Once I figured out what the weed was, however, I swiftly (and carefully) snatched it out of the ground.

Yellow Parsnip Flowers
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture warns that wild parsnip contains a sap that can be rather harmful in certain conditions. The department says toxic chemicals in the sap can cause "serious burns and blisters to human skin" if activated by sunlight.

How To Tell If You Have Wild Parsnip In Your Yard

Thankfully, wild parsnip has distinct characteristics that help set it apart from the safe plants that you actually want in your yard.

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The Invasive Species Centre has provided the following ways to identify wild parsnip:

  • Hollow stem that is light green with a bit of a purple tinge
  • Leaves with saw-toothed edges
  • Roots will be thick
  • Five-petalled yellow flowers that grow in an umbrella shape.
Wild Parsnip Plants
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Given the plant's thick root, you'll likely need to dig it up rather than pull it out by hand. As with any potentially toxic plant, gloves and protective clothing that covers the skin should be used when removing wild parsnip.

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