A woman from Vermont is now warning people about the hazardous effects she experienced after coming in contact with a wild parsnip plant.

It was around July 1 that Charlotte Murphy was travelling to southern Vermont for her internship. When she stopped the car on the road side, she accidentally slid into a plant, which broke down and because of this, the oil coming out of the parsnip plant stem came in contact with Murphy’s bare legs.

However, she continued her journey, not knowing that two days later her stumble would return to haunt her in form of second-degree chemical burns.

Murphy started noticing small, red color bumps in the exact spot where the plant had come in contact with her bare legs. However, she did not feel itchy or any kind of pain and did not think that something was really wrong.

Wild parsnip plant, also known as hobo parsnip and poison parsnip, is the wild version of the cultivated root vegetable which resembles the carrot. Although the cream coloured roots can be eaten, the sap of the plant is treacherous. The wild parsnip plant can grow over 60 inches in height and blooms small yellow-color umbrella-shaped flower groups, with each of these growing about 2 inches across, as per the Pennsylvania State University biologists. The sap of the wild parsnip consists of furanocoumarins that are compounds which case severe skin burns.

The graphic pictures of her burn blisters were posted by Murphy on her Facebook account where she wrote that she hopes to create a greater amount of ‘awareness for what wild parsnip is … and the terrible things the OIL from its stem, leaves, and blooms can to do the skin.’

As per the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the compounds present in the plant’s stem get activated due to sunlight which leads to an extreme sunburn, which can get worse when in contact with heat and moisture.

Murphy is currently undergoing treatment at the University of Vermont’s Trauma and Burn Center and is expected to recover fully with time.


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