REED CITY — Local agricultural experts remind residents of a hazardous invasive plant found to be growing in the area.
Michigan State University Extension Educator Gerry Lindquist warned local landowners to be on the lookout for wild parsnip at a meeting of the Osceola County Board of Commissioners last week.
“It’s like your worst nightmare,” Lindquist said.
If the plant is mowed over and material makes contact with skin, it causes the burn that lasts longer than poison ivy, he said.
Chemicals found in the plant’s leaves, stems and ﬂowers are photo-toxic and cause skin rashes, burns and blisters in the presence of sunlight — a condition that can last for up to ten years and can cause permanent scarring if exposed.
Wild Parsnip is prevalent in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula but was first seen in Osceola County in 2017. So far, the plant has mainly been seen along parts of the White Pine Trail and along some roadways.
The plant goes largely undetected in the first year it’s two-year life cycle, which allows it to spread easily.
Lindquist said the plant was introduced in the area in straw mulch, which is used on construction sites. He said the places where the plant has been identified have all been areas where recent construction activity has taken place.
Lindquist is asking landowners to be on the lookout for the plant and eliminate it quickly if found. Wild parsnip can be identified by its distinctive yellow ﬂowers, which only bloom for a short period of time in mid-June.
The plant can be killed by digging it out its roots or spraying with herbicide, Lindquist said.
Lindquist said he wants to hold a field event in June to show landowners how to identify the plant.