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Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

Other Names:

In Alaska known as Moose Parsnip

Range:

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

A large herbaceous plant which grows from 3-10 feet tall. Leaves are 12"-18" and rough and hairy.  Leaves are divided into 3 segments, with coarsely toothed leaflets and a broad wing at the base of each leaf stalk.  Stems are rough, hairy, hollow and grooved. It has white or cream colored flowers with a sweet fragrance. Flowers have 5 petals of different sizes and are arranged in broad, flat-topped clusters at the top of short stalks. Blooms in mid-summer

Height:

Grows from 3-10 feet tall.

Leaves:

Leaves are 12"-18" and rough and hairy.  Leaves are divided into 3 segments, with coarsely toothed leaflets and a broad wing at the base of each leaf stalk.

Stem/Trunk:

Stems are rough, hairy, hollow and grooved.

Root:

N/A

Flower:

Season:

Mid-summer

Appearance:

White or cream colored flowers with a sweet fragrance. Flowers have 5 petals of different sizes and are arranged in broad, flat-topped clusters at the top of short stalks.

Seed/Fruit:

N/A

Miscellaneous characteristics:

This plant has been known to cause photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight) in some people. This has caused severe sunburns. Until you know how this plant may affect you, wear gloves when handling, and do not consume uncooked.

Habitat:

Widespread throughout North America. Absent only in the Southeastern United States. Grows in a variety of habitats including wet areas, old meadows, woodlands, forest openings, grasslands, stream and river edges, and along roadsides.

Parts Used:

Roots, young stems

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

Eat the tender roots of young plants in the spring. The roots taste a bit like strong rutabagas, or parsnips. You can also peel and eat the young leaf stalks, and young flower stalks. I think they taste wonderfully reminiscent of celery, and are by far the best part of the plant.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

None Known

Medicinal Actions:

None Known

 
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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield