Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Pastinaca sativa
common parsnip, wild parsnip

Distribution: Occurring in scattered locations on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Roadsides, fields, ditches, wastelots, and other disturbed sites at low elevations.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Introduced from Europe

Growth Duration: Biennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Stout, leafy-stemmed, aromatic biennial from a stout taproot, 3-10 dm. tall.


Leaves pinnately compound; basal leaves up to 5 dm. long and nearly half as wide, the leaflets up to 13 cm. long and 10 cm. wide, toothed, or the lower cleft or lobed; cauline leaves progressively reduced upward.


Inflorescence of compound umbels on terminal and lateral peduncles; rays 15-25, unequal, 2-10 cm. long; involucre and involucel wanting; calyx teeth obsolete; flowers yellow.


Fruit glabrous, broadly elliptic, 5-6 mm. long and 4-5 mm. wide, strongly flattened dorsally; lateral wings narrow, dorsal ribs filiform.

Accepted Name:
Pastinaca sativa L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 262. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Pastinaca sativa L. var. pratensis Pers.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Pastinaca sativa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Pastinaca sativa checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Pastinaca sativa atlas page.

CalPhotos: Pastinaca sativa photos.

USDA Plants: Pastinaca sativa information.

19 photographs:
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