Home Forums Successes and failures Beware Parsnips …

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    • #152
      Chris
      Participant

      Just a word of warning if you ever grow parsnips. It’s not something I’d come across before, but I got a really nasty case of phyto-photo-dermatitis after working with parsnips on a sunny day and not washing my arms thoroughly enough. Apparently if you get parsnip-juice on your skin (even brushing your hand/arm against the foliage), subsequent exposure to sunshine can activate a severe allergic response – something akin to a chemical burn. In my case I observed patches of red itchy rashes the next day (on my arm), which slowly started to look and feel like a burn. They started blistering the following day and needed careful management for a few days. The skin is healing now, but I’m likely to have skin discolouration for several weeks, if not months. Further research has shown that some people can experience breathing difficulty and nausea – so please be careful out there. I knew some plants could damage skin – Giant Hogweed, Common Rue, St John’s Wort etc. – but I didn’t realise that the humble parsnip was a risk.

      So, when working with parsnips:

      Cover up – gloves, long sleeves and trousers.
      Wash thoroughly afterwards – I did wash my hands, but should have washed all exposed skin.
      Avoid sunshine – if sunny, I would avoid working with them altogether.

      Doubt I will plant them again, but please keep the above in mind if you do.

    • #153
      Danielle
      Keymaster

      Good to know although I never had a reaction to parsnip.

      Last year I had sown parsnip in my poly tunnel bed. All speedily came out and by July I was harvesting giant parsnips. I really had to dig them out with my hands till about half way down the lenght of the parsnip before trying to rock them out! Also in the garden they were a success although not so large as those in the poly tunnel.

      This year it is however another story. Because of the warm weather we had in May and June. the parsnip did not want to germinate in garden as well as in poly tunnel. I tried 3 times and finally gave up. In July a few of them finally germinated, but they remained small and are still small. Happily enough I still have some parsnip in the deep freeze from last year!

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