Wild Parsnip and Poison Ivy

A few days ago I noticed a number of small blisters on the backs of my fingers.  They itched like crazy at times, and hurt when touched.  I also noticed two or three larger blisters on my legs.

Poison ivy?  I have been around a lot of it lately.  The blisters on my fingers have finally gone away, leaving some brown discoloration.

I have had this stuff before.  It is not poison ivy.  It is wild parsnip.  To get burned by wild parsnip you have to be exposed to the juices of the plant–the plant has to actually be damaged in some way, unlike poison ivy.  Also you have to be exposed to sunlight.  If you wear long pants and long-sleaved shirts you will protect yourself from it.

Here is a rather large disgusting blister on my leg.

These are some small scars, formerly blisters, that are found on my little finger.

So how and where was I exposed to wild parsnip?

Butterfly photography has its price.  The Baltimore checkerspots that I saw the other day were mostly nectaring on wild parsnip.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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