Monday, January 24, 2011

Evil Beauty!

"That which is striking and beautiful is not always good,
but that which is good is always beautiful."
                                       Ninon De L'Enclos

 Don't be fooled by its beauty.

 This Wild Parsnip has an evil side.Under the striking beauty of the frost is a horrible weed, I had the misfortune of coming in contact with.
 I had not even noticed it till after the incident. A simple brush against it; while working in my garden.
 Later that evening I noticed a small blister on my wrist. I thought I had probably done it while cooking. Sometimes I burn myself who knows why.
 The next day I again, was working in my garden and I was very overheated, it had been a very hot day. I was very dizzy, and had the sensation of "pins and needles" all over my body. I lie on the ground,  I thought I would faint. My loyal dog Tasha never leaving my side.
 That night I was not feeling well so I went to bed early.
 In the morning I awoke to blurry vision, dizzy, nausea, and the sensation of  "pins and needles." I had a very red burning rash all over my body.
 A trip to the emergency ward of our local hospital was necessary. I went on the insistence of my family. I being stubborn and not wanting to ruin M's birthday did not want to go. M spent the day of her birthday watching her Mom  hooked up to heart monitors in the hospital. A birthday she will never forget.
 After hours, they sent me home with some Prednizone and Benadryl. It was some kind of allergic reaction, was all they knew. Since I am stubborn and  I try to never take medication I did not take the Prednizone; big mistake. I was much worse in the morning.
 I started taking the medication and the rash slowly disappeared. My vision remained blurry, to the point I had K drive me to the doctor, trying to figure out what was going on. I still had the sensation of "pins and needles every time I was overheated and I was always extremely dizzy. She had no idea, and again I was sent home.
 I met my neighbour, the nurse, on the road.She was telling me about the little girl next door who was very sick, and had terrible burns on her body from "Wild Parsnip".
 She pointed it out to me, I finally had the answer I was looking for. It was in my garden.
 That was two summers ago, I still get the same sensation when I get overheated, especially at haying time.I have avoided the sun for both summers.
 I would say the vision problem was the one that scared me the most.
 I look forward to getting back in my garden this spring. My Hero assured me the weed is all gone.
 I keep this flyer on my fridge for all who come to the farm I would not want anyone to go through this ordeal.

Courtesy of The University of Guelph.
 If you Google this weed, you will be able to identify it. If you see it  my word of advice is RUN!



  1. Oh my goodness, I remember that!
    It sure does look pretty with snow on it.
    Thanks for comment on my 'thing' :)

  2. Oh my! How terrible and dangerous. It sounds like it escalated quite fast but I'm glad everything turned out ok at the end. I'm not big on taking medications either but I've learned my lesson and always follow the Dr.'s instructions now.

  3. Scary stuff. With the trails we run on, I'm always concerned about this too. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I'm googling it, don't want to suffer as you have. Thanks for the heads up :o) and sorry you had to learn to steer clear the hard way :o(

  5. whoa! Who knew? I've never even heard of one.... must Google and have a closer look.

  6. Wow, I have heard of people being allergic to parsnip leaves before but had no idea how bad it could be. Our grandson has some plant alergies so we will make sure to keep your parsnip incident in mind as we do come across this wild plant quite often while out hiking.

  7. So that is what that weed is called! heck I have seen it around before. I was noticing the Queens Anne Lace yesterday looked like white Bachelor Buttons with the snow and ice on it. Ran out of battery life in the camera! Pretty though.Love your photo's. Enjoying this cold spell???

  8. Thanks for the information, I have never heard of this...

  9. What an incredible story and such an awful worrying time for you and your family.
    How lucky that chance conversation with your neighbour.
    My empathies with you about taking medication, however, it is for the best - most times. I learnt that the hard way too ;-)

    The quote you used is so apt ... the wild parsnip covered in ice crystals looks so beautiful - but is oh so deceptive!

  10. wow. poor you. I haven't heard of this before, though I once treated a man with hogweed burns. that's the nasty one here. same botanical family, similar reaction.
    Google sent me to a UK site (I always read them first) which said that ordinary, cultivated parsnips can sometimes do this, particularly in hot weather and bright sunlight. I've just ordered the parsnip seeds......

  11. Gosh the after effects of this nasty little weed are long lasting. You poor thing! Makes my first unsuspecting brush with stinging nettles look very minor.


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