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A picture of a Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip

Pastinaca sativa

Also known as

Common Parsnip

Pastinaca sativa 'wild parsnip' 2007-06-02 (plant) by Magnus Manske (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








1 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Wild Parsnip

Some yellow Pastinaca sativa flowers in the wild
A photo of Wild Parsnip
A photo of Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip Overview

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.

Common problems with Wild Parsnip

Guernsey parsnips are fairly pest resistant.

Wild Parsnip Companion Plants

Cucumbers, beans, radish, garlic, leeks, lettuce.

How to harvest Wild Parsnip

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.

How to propagate Wild Parsnip


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

Special features of Wild Parsnip

Crop rotation

Light feeder, rotated with other root vegetables.

Other uses of Wild Parsnip



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



Plants for Long Grass Areas

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