Species Specifics: Wild parsnip

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wild parsnip

Read why you will want to remove wild parsnip early. 


  • Wild parsnip contains in its sap high amounts of furanocoumarins, a toxin that decreases the health and performance of cattle.
  • Anchored by a deep taproot, wild parsnip is highly invasive and, if ignored, can spread rapidly, developing into large monocultures that replace native animal and plant habitat.
  • For effective control, treat wild parsnip with DuraCor® herbicide during early stages of vegetative growth.



Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a biennial broadleaf weed that forms a rosette of basal leaves, resembling celery, in the first year. In the second year, a hairy and grooved stem elongates with alternate leaves that are compound with course, saw-toothed edges. Small yellow or white flowers form in an umbrella shape. The leaves can cause a painful rash. Skin sensitivity is greatest when the weed is flowering.


Native to Europe and western Asia, wild parsnip was imported to the United States from European settlers as a root vegetable. Over time, it escaped from cultivation and is now invasive in most of the United States.

Wild parsnip encroaches in disturbed soils, making pastures, roadsides, field margins and trails susceptible to infestations. When scouting for weeds, keep an eye out for wild parsnip in sunny areas of the pastures; while it thrives in most soils, it does not grow well in the shade.


Wild parsnip is toxic through all plant growth stages, when eaten fresh or dried in hay. High amounts of furanocoumarins found in the plant’s sap can cause severe sunburn and blistering after contact or ingestion in cattle. If infestations occur in pastures, controlling wild parsnip during early stages is critical to keeping cattle healthy. Never remove wild parsnip by hand to avoid burning and blistering. Apply 12 to 16 fluid ounces of DuraCor® herbicide per acre. 16 fluid ounces is the standard recommendation to control most weeds. Apply to vegetative stage prior to bloom. Use a higher rate when weeds are more mature.


™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Under normal field conditions, DuraCor® is nonvolatile. DuraCor has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with DuraCor and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. DuraCor is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions. ® 2022 Corteva.

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