13 Aug Wild Parsnip and Dermatitis
Dermatitis can present as a rash that can be caused by just about anything, and some people are more sensitive to common causes (like poison ivy) than others. At Spectrum Dermatology, we see a variety of causes in the summer months as people vacation—and love to stop and smell the flowers. Wild parsnip can be found around the country, including in Arizona, and the invasive plant from Eurasia tends to cause this itchy condition.
Be careful of Wild parsnip
The yellow flowers are certainly an eye-catcher, and a lot of people mistakenly cut wild parsnip for decorations. The leaves, understandably, look like parsnip and you’ll notice that the plant grows and spreads impressively fast. The flowers produce hundreds of seeds that can reach maturity even when they’re mowed down.
Wild parsnip is considered a noxious weed in many states, but some adventurous gardeners grow it in their garden for its tasty roots (which aren’t dangerous). However, it’s usually suggested that you avoid eating the roots since they look very similar to hemlock (which is deadly).
What makes wild parsnip an unusual plant is it’s one of the few that can lead to phytophotodermatitis. The sap can get absorbed into the skin, and then be activated by the sun’s UV rays. If this happens, you can expect to start seeing symptoms within two days. Red skin, blisters, and discoloration from dermatitis caused by wild parsnip can last up to two years if not treated. June and July are the most popular times to stumble across this plant, but keep a lookout year-round in many parts of Arizona.
Schedule a consultation to treat the lingering discoloration
If you have wild parsnip in your yard, the best approach is to remove it. Make sure to wear gloves, cover your limbs, and remove the root entirely. One accidental brush with this plant could lead to months of skin conditions. However, if you already have encountered wild parsnip or any other irritant, don’t worry. Contact Spectrum Dermatology and schedule a consultation to treat the lingering discoloration this invasive species leaves in its wake.