Officials give warning about the dangers of wild parsnip

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REEDSBURG, Wis. (WMTV) - The Reedsburg Fire Department is warning the public about a poisonous plant that causes painful blisters.

Experts say the plant grows in open, sunny areas and the sap inside the plant is what causes skin to blister.

Wild parsnip, also known as Pastinaca sativa, has lacy, yellow-green heads similar to wildflowers and can look harmless. The dangers are in the oily sap that the plant secretes.

According to the DNR, when the sap contacts skin in the presence of sunlight, it can cause severe rashes, blisters, and discoloration of the skin. The recommend wearing gloves, long sleeves, and long pants when handling.

The colorful plant typically flowers from May to July and can grow from 6 inches to 6 feet tall, according to DNR officials.