Information on Wild Parsnip

Common Name: Wild Parsnip
Scientific Name: Pastinaca sativa
Irish Name: Cuirdín bán
Family Group: Apiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Wild Parsnip is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This is an introduced species which is only occasionally found, particularly in the South East of Ireland. It grows about 1 metre high and bears small, yellow flowers (1.5mm) in bractless umbels which have 5-15 uneven rays. Each flower has 5 petals which are rolled inwards. These umbels are borne on upright, hollow, angles, ridged stems and it is an altogether hairy plant. The leaves are alternate, pinnate and have 5-11 toothed, oval leaflets. The fruit is 2-parted, oval, flattened and winged.  It blooms from June to September and belongs to the Apiaceae or Carrot family. 

I first saw Wild Parsnip near Slade, Co Wexford in 2012 when on a BSBI Field Trip with Vice-county Recorder for Waterford & Wexford, Paul Green. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Parsnip, Wild
Parsnip, Wild

Wild Parsnip is a poisonous plant, the sap of which can cause serious blistering.