Wild parsnip is in bloom along roadsides and abandoned fields. It is a non-native invasive plant that produces chemicals called furanocoumarins which can make skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet light. Exposure usually occurs when folks are walking through brushy areas or mowing, as exposure to the sap is the real danger (not just brushing past the plant). The exposed site must then also be exposed to sunlight for the reaction to occur. For this reason, washing the area as soon as possible then keeping it protected from sunlight will help prevent a reaction. The longer the sap stays on the skin, the deeper it can be absorbed, increasing the severity from a sunburn-type redness and pain to blistering. A reaction can occur 24-48 hours after the initial exposure, so even if you wash the site, keeping it covered and out of the sun is important.
The plant can be identified by looking for bright yellow clusters of tiny flowers that are arranged in a flat-topped array. They look quite a lot like the flowers of dill, but are more compact. Wild parsnip leaves look a bit like large celery leaves. Other flowers have a similar shape (like cow parsnip, Queen Ann’s lace, and water hemlock), but they’re all white in color.
If you’re going to remove wild parsnip wear gloves, long sleeves and pants, as well as eye protection. Severing the plant’s taproot about 2 inches below the soil should do the trick. Since the plant spreads only by seed, it is very important to dispose of flower and seed heads in the trash or by burning them. The rest of the plant can be left to dry and decay on-site.