Wild Parsnip

Pastinaca sativa

Common Parsnip

profile iconPastinaca sativa 'wild parsnip' 2007-06-02 (plant)
by Magnus Manske (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
1 of 5
A green Pastinaca sativa plant with yellow flowers growing in a garden
profile iconPastinaca sativa 'wild parsnip' 2007-06-02 (plant)
by Magnus Manske (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
1 of 5
Pastinaca sativa is commonly known by the name Parsnip. It is a biennial species in the carrot family, Apiaceae. This biennial plant is usually grown as an annual for food production. This plant has short roots with broad shoulders and attractive smooth skin. The plant can grow up to 2m above ground and loosely resembles celery in its habit and appearance. The edible taproots, which are white and carrot-like, are very nutritious. They can be cooked or baked, or even mashed and pureed. Parsnip wine and beer were made in the 1600's, and parsnip was used as a sweetener before sugar beet was developed. It was believed to have many medicinal uses.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Harvest from about 4 months after sowing. Parsnips taste best when harvested in early spring. The taste and sweetness might be intensified by cold weather, which is why they are often harvested after frosty weather.

Propagation

Seed

Sowing time - summer/autumn; Spacing: 8 - 10 cm; Sowing depth: 20 mm; Germination time: 21 - 27 days; Harvested from spring through summer.

Special features

Crop rotation

Light feeder, rotated with other root vegetables.

Special features

Origin

Europe and Western Asia.

Natural climate

Cool to temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand, Clay, Chalk

Soil PH preference

Alkaline, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

In the Middle Ages, parsnip roots were used to treat toothache and stomach ailments.

Edible

Roots

Notes

Culinary

Personality

Family

Apiaceae

Flower colour

Yellow

Scent

Mild

Problems

Guernsey parsnips are fairly pest resistant.

Companion plants

Cucumbers, beans, radish, garlic, leeks, lettuce.
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Knowledge and advice

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