Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Pastinaca sativa
(parsnip)

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Datasheet

Pastinaca sativa (parsnip)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Pastinaca sativa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • parsnip
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. sativa, commonly known as parsnip or wild parsnip, is native to Europe. It is cultivated as a vegetable root crop and subsequently introduced throughout much of the temperate world. P. sativa has es...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Note presence of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in the background. USA. July, 2004.
TitleHabit
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Note presence of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in the background. USA. July, 2004.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Note presence of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in the background. USA. July, 2004.
HabitPastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Note presence of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in the background. USA. July, 2004.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Roadside infestation. USA. July, 2004.
TitleHabit
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Roadside infestation. USA. July, 2004.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Roadside infestation. USA. July, 2004.
HabitPastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Roadside infestation. USA. July, 2004.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.
Flowering habitPastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. Umbels seen from above. July, 2004. USA.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. Umbels seen from above. July, 2004. USA.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. Umbels seen from above. July, 2004. USA.
Flowering habitPastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. Umbels seen from above. July, 2004. USA.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.
Flowering habitPastinaca sativa (parsnip); flowering habit. USA. June, 2003.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); ripening fruits. July, 2003. USA.
TitleFruits
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); ripening fruits. July, 2003. USA.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); ripening fruits. July, 2003. USA.
FruitsPastinaca sativa (parsnip); ripening fruits. July, 2003. USA.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Developing plants. July, 2007. USA.
TitleDeveloping plants
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Developing plants. July, 2007. USA.
Copyright©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Developing plants. July, 2007. USA.
Developing plantsPastinaca sativa (parsnip); habit. Developing plants. July, 2007. USA.©Leslie J. Mehrhoff/University of Connecticut/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); seeds. USA.
TitleSeeds
CaptionPastinaca sativa (parsnip); seeds. USA.
Copyright©Bruce Ackley/The Ohio State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Pastinaca sativa (parsnip); seeds. USA.
SeedsPastinaca sativa (parsnip); seeds. USA.©Bruce Ackley/The Ohio State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Pastinaca sativa L.

Preferred Common Name

  • parsnip

Other Scientific Names

  • Elaphoboscum sativum (L.) Rupr.
  • Pastinaca fleischmannii Hladnik
  • Pastinaca sativa subsp. sylvestris (Mill.) Rouy & E.G.Camus
  • Pastinaca sativa subsp. sylvestris Roug & Camus
  • Pastinaca sylvestris Mill.
  • Peucedanum pastinaca (Wibel) Baill.
  • Peucedanum sativum (L.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex B.D.Jacks.

International Common Names

  • English: wild parsnip
  • Spanish: apio del campo; chirivia; chirivía; pastinaca
  • French: panais; panais sauvage

Local Common Names

  • China: ou fang feng
  • Germany: gemeiner pastinak; pastinak
  • Italy: pastinaca
  • Netherlands: pastinaak; wilde pastinaak
  • Portugal: pastinaga
  • Sweden: palsternacka

EPPO code

  • PAVSA (Pastinaca sativa)

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. sativa, commonly known as parsnip or wild parsnip, is native to Europe. It is cultivated as a vegetable root crop and subsequently introduced throughout much of the temperate world. P. sativa has escaped from cultivation and become a weed of disturbed habitats, perennial crops and reduced tillage systems, especially in North America, but also in South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and eastward in Asia. Contact or ingestion of wild plants is toxic to humans and livestock. It is avoided by grazing animals (populations tend to increase under grazing) and can become abundant in disturbed areas where activities bring it into contact with humans (e.g. transportation corridors, orchards, parks, etc.), or where disturbance occurs frequently such as in riparian habitats. Populations can displace vegetation and selective control may be difficult or prohibitive. It is considered a serious threat to human health in parts of its introduced range and is sometimes regulated as a noxious weed.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Apiales
  •                         Family: Apiaceae
  •                             Genus: Pastinaca
  •                                 Species: Pastinaca sativa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The cultivated parsnip is usually not sufficiently distinct from wild P. sativa to justify a separate taxonomic rank (Averill and DiTommaso, 2007). Several subspecies have been described, including subsp. sativa, subsp. divaricata, subsp. latifolia, subsp. sylvestris, and subsp. urens (Tutin, 1968; Anzalone, 1987; Menemen and Jury, 2001), but infraspecific taxa, other than cultivars, are not consistently or widely recognized. Occasionally some authors have distinguished the wild and cultivated forms as distinct species (Shishkin, 1951). P. sativa has been grown in Europe since at least the Middle Ages and possibly since Roman times and many cultivars have been developed (Averill and DiTommaso, 2007; Cain et al., 2010).

Description

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Biennial or short-lived monocarpic perennial with a thick yellowish or brownish tap root. Flowering stems to about 2 m high, angled (grooved), with sparse hairs, hollow and often branched at the upper nodes. Petioles are grooved, expanding at the base to clasp the stem. The alternate leaves are once or twice pinnately compound, up to about 40 cm long, and smooth or hairy. Leaves on the upper stem are progressively reduced in size and dissection, eventually becoming narrow sessile bracts.

The inflorescence is a compound, flat-topped umbel about 10–20 cm across. There are usually 6–25 straight rays supporting the umbellets. The terminal (primary) umbel is composed of hermaphrodite (perfect) flowers towards the outside and staminate flowers towards the centre. The lateral (secondary, tertiary, etc.) umbels have a diminishing number of hermaphrodite flowers, with the highest umbel orders having only staminate flowers. Flowers with sepals minute or lacking and the five petals are entire, involute and yellow (rarely white).

Fruits (referred to as schizocarps) are dry, flattened and oval. Each schizocarp splits into two strongly-flattened “seeds” (referred to as mericarps), each rounded or oval in outline and narrowly winged, 4–8 mm long, straw-coloured to light brown, with four conspicuous dark oil tubes (vittae) on the abaxial (outer) surface and two to four on the adaxial (inner) surface. A wiry prolongation between the two mericarps, the carpophore, is deeply divided and supports the two mature mericarps from their apex. Plants emit a characteristic parsnip odour. Seedlings have strap-like cotyledons up to about 3 cm long, with a blade about 4 mm wide and tapering to a long petiole. The first leaves have long petioles, are ovate to broadly cordate, about 1 cm long and coarsely toothed but not lobed.

Plant Type

Top of page Biennial
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

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It is thought that P. sativa is native throughout most of Europe except the far north. Its native distribution is thought to Asia Minor, the Near East and the Caucasus, although how much of its Asian distribution is due to pre-historic human activities is unknown.

There is some disagreement over the status of P. sativa in Lebanon with reports of this species being both native and introduced (Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011; USDA-ARS, 2015).

It has since been widely introduced in North, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Oceana.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentHolm et al., 1979
ArmeniaPresentNativeEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011
AzerbaijanPresentNativeEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011
ChinaWidespreadIntroducedZehui and Watson, 2005
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011; USDA-ARS, 2015
JapanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
LebanonPresentEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011; USDA-ARS, 2015References to both native and introduced
SyriaPresentNativeEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015

Africa

South AfricaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015

North America

CanadaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-AlbertaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-British ColumbiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-ManitobaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-New BrunswickWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-Newfoundland and LabradorLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-Northwest TerritoriesLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-Nova ScotiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-OntarioWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-Prince Edward IslandLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-QuebecWidespread1821Introduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-SaskatchewanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
-Yukon TerritoryLocalised1949Introduced Invasive Cain et al., 2010
MexicoPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
USAWidespreadIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2015
-AlaskaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015
-ArizonaPresentBONAP, 2015
-ArkansasPresentBONAP, 2015
-CaliforniaPresentBONAP, 2015
-ColoradoPresentBONAP, 2015
-ConnecticutPresentBONAP, 2015
-DelawarePresentBONAP, 2015
-District of ColumbiaPresentBONAP, 2015
-IdahoPresentBONAP, 2015
-IllinoisPresentBONAP, 2015
-IndianaPresentBONAP, 2015
-IowaPresentBONAP, 2015
-KansasPresentBONAP, 2015
-KentuckyPresent Invasive BONAP, 2015
-LouisianaPresentBONAP, 2015
-MainePresentBONAP, 2015
-MarylandPresentBONAP, 2015
-MassachusettsPresentBONAP, 2015
-MichiganPresentBONAP, 2015
-MinnesotaPresentBONAP, 2015
-MissouriPresentBONAP, 2015
-MontanaPresentBONAP, 2015
-NebraskaPresent Invasive BONAP, 2015
-NevadaPresentBONAP, 2015
-New HampshirePresentBONAP, 2015
-New JerseyPresentBONAP, 2015
-New MexicoPresentBONAP, 2015
-New YorkPresentBONAP, 2015
-North CarolinaPresentBONAP, 2015
-North DakotaPresentBONAP, 2015
-OhioPresent Invasive BONAP, 2015
-OklahomaPresentBONAP, 2015
-OregonPresentBONAP, 2015
-PennsylvaniaPresentBONAP, 2015
-Rhode IslandPresentBONAP, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentBONAP, 2015
-South DakotaPresentBONAP, 2015
-TennesseePresent Invasive BONAP, 2015
-TexasPresentBONAP, 2015
-UtahPresentBONAP, 2015
-VermontPresentBONAP, 2015
-VirginiaPresentBONAP, 2015
-WashingtonPresentBONAP, 2015
-West VirginiaPresentBONAP, 2015
-WisconsinPresent Invasive BONAP, 2015
-WyomingPresentBONAP, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
JamaicaLocalisedIntroducedAdams, 1972

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; USDA-ARS, 2015
BoliviaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
ChilePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
EcuadorPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
PeruPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
UruguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
AndorraPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
AustriaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
BelarusPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
BelgiumPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
BulgariaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
CroatiaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
Czech RepublicPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
DenmarkPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
EstoniaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
FinlandPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
FrancePresentNative Not invasive Kerguélen, 1999; Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
-CorsicaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
GermanyPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
GreecePresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
HungaryPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
IrelandPresentIntroducedEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011
ItalyPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
LatviaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
LiechtensteinPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
LithuaniaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
LuxembourgPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
MacedoniaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
MoldovaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
MontenegroPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
NetherlandsPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
NorwayPresentIntroducedEuro+Med PlantBase, 2011
PolandPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
RomaniaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
Russian FederationPresentNative Not invasive Holm et al., 1979; Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
-Central RussiaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
-Eastern SiberiaPresentShishkin, 1951
-Northern RussiaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
-Southern RussiaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
-Western SiberiaPresentNative Not invasive Shishkin, 1951; USDA-ARS, 2015
SerbiaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
SlovakiaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
SloveniaPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
SpainPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
SwedenPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
SwitzerlandPresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
UKPresentNative Not invasive Tutin, 1980; Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
UkrainePresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011
Yugoslavia (former)PresentNative Not invasive Euro+Med PlantBase, 2011

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced1849Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-TasmaniaLocalisedIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-Western AustraliaLocalisedIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
New ZealandPresentIntroduced1867NZPCN, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015

History of Introduction and Spread

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As a food crop, P. sativa originated in Europe where it is a popular root vegetable, being sweet and easily stored. It was one of the first food plants introduced to new areas by explorers and emigrants during the European expansionist times of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It is presumed that its wide establishment in the western hemisphere, temperate southern hemisphere and eastern Asia has been largely the result of its escape from cultivation.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia Europe 1849 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes CHAH (2015); Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (2015) Agricultural crop and garden vegetable
Canada Europe 1612 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes Cain et al. (2010) Agricultural crop and garden vegetable
New Zealand Europe 1867 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes NZPCN (2015); NZPCN (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network) (2015) Agricultural crop and garden vegetable
Peru Europe 1604 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)Hedrick (1919) Agricultural crop and garden vegetable
USA Europe 1610 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause) Yes Cain et al. (2010) Agricultural crop and garden vegetable
Venezuela Europe 1564 Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)Hedrick (1919) Agricultural crop and garden vegetable

Risk of Introduction

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Although not as popular as it once was, P. sativa is still grown in many temperate parts of the world. Introduction as a new crop is the most likely means of this species spreading to new areas. As a frequent weed of pastures and managed grasslands, it likely will be an occasional contaminant of hay crops. Another likely pathway is the adherence of seed to construction and agricultural machinery as well as transportation vehicles. Modern seed commodity sanitation techniques are sufficient to eliminate it as a contaminant.

Habitat

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In its introduced range P. sativa is primarily a ruderal plant, inhabiting disturbed areas and communities. Sometimes it will become established in more natural habitats where there is some pattern of disturbance such as riparian areas and grazed or mown grasslands. It is mainly a plant of open and edge habitats and is not tolerant of shade. However, both open and closed weed communities along a roadside in eastern Canada contained P. sativa (Tomkins and Grant, 1974); the former was dominated by pioneer annuals and short lived perennials, while the latter had 90-100% cover of perennial plants. P. sativa can be frequent along field edges in southern Québec (Simard and Benoit, 2010) as high disturbance and intensive agricultural practices can facilitate the invasion of hedgerows by this species (de Blois et al., 2002).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Principal habitat Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Reported chromosome number count for P. sativa are n = 11 and 2n = 22 (IPCN Chromosome Reports, 2015). No interspecific hybridization is known.

 

Reproductive Biology

P. sativa is monocarpic and a facultative biennial (Averill and DiTommaso, 2007; Cain et al., 2010). Normally plants require two seasons of growth to sequester the energy reserves to support flowering. Under suboptimal conditions, plant rosettes may remain in a vegetative state for up to four years before entering the reproductive phase. The flowers of P. sativa are protandrous and anthers begin to dehisce about five to seven days before the stigmas become receptive (Beghtel, 1925; Cruden and Hermann-Parker, 1977). Flowers mature centripetally within umbellets and umbels (Beghtel, 1925; Cruden and Hermann-Parker, 1977) and umbels of differing orders mature sequentially over 10-14 day intervals (Hendrix, 1984; Hendrix and Trapp, 1992). There is little overlap between staminate and pistillate phases within and between umbels, resulting in temporal dioecism which promotes outcrossing and reduces pollination between flowers on the same plant (Cruden and Hermann-Parker, 1977).

In primary umbels, 87-89% of the flowers are hermaphrodite, while higher order umbels have greatly reduced proportions of hermaphroditic flowers (Lovett Doust, 1980b). If the primary umbel is damaged by herbivores, however, later developing umbels compensate by producing more flowers of which a greater proportion are hermaphrodite than in undamaged plants (Hendrix and Trapp, 1989).

Pollinators are promiscuous, non-specialized insects (Knuth 1908; Bell 1971; Cruden and Hermann-Parker 1977; Borg-Karlson et al., 1994; Lohman et al., 1996; Tooker et al., 2006). Insects are attracted by the yellow colour of the flowers, by volatile fragrance compounds, notably cis-ocimene and trans-ocimene (Borg-Karlson et al., 1994) and by the nectar exuding from the prominent stylopodium. Flower visitors are mostly unspecialized pollinators, including mainly Syrphidae, Tachinidae, and other flies, but also ants, wasps, bees and beetles (Knuth, 1908; Bell, 1971; Cruden and Hermann-Parker, 1977; Borg-Karlson et al., 1994; Lohman et al., 1996; Tooker et al., 2006). Robertson (1928) reported almost 300 species of insects visiting P. sativa flowers between 2nd June and 9th July at Carlinville, Illinois, USA. Of the species observed, Hymenoptera and Diptera species were predominant, 42% and 38%, respectively, with smaller numbers of Coleoptera (14%), Lepidoptera (3%), Hemiptera (2%), and Neuroptera (0.3%).

Lovett Doust (1980b), studying P. sativa in the UK, found a mean number of 15,000 flowers per plant, of which about 18% (2700) were perfect with a 74% fruit set (2000 fruits per plant). Most fruits were produced in the primary and secondary umbels. In Iowa, Cruden and Hermann-Parker (1977) found an average of 930 ± 89 flowers per umbel on primary umbels, and 520 ± 72 on secondary umbels. Seed yield in cultivated P. sativa varies with planting density up to 1040-4029 kg per ha at 10 plants m2 (Gray et al., 1985). One or both of the two mericarps in each fruit may contain a seed, although mature fruits lacking seeds (parthenocarpy) is also common (Hendrix, 1984; Zangerl et al., 1991; Lohman et al., 1996). It has been suggested that parthenocarpic fruits may divert herbivore feeding (i.e. be preferentially consumed by seed-feeding organisms) away from fertile fruits, which, although more nutritious, also have much higher levels of toxic furanocoumarins (Zangerl et al., 1991).

Wild P. sativa seeds possess morphological dormancy due to an underdeveloped embryo (Baskin and Baskin, 1998). Emergence of seedlings in the spring, and early summer in the year following seed dispersal, accounts for about 80% of total emergence, and 99% percent of all seedlings typically emerge within two years after dispersal (Thomson and Price, 1977; Baskin and Baskin, 1979; Hendrix and Trapp, 1989). Seed viability declines rapidly, lasting only three to four years (Dorph-Petersen, 1924; Anderson, 1968; Roberts, 1979; Kennay and Fell, 1990) and producing only a weak, transient seed bank.

Physiology and Phenology

Seedlings emerge and quickly develop a strong taproot for nutrient storage as they produce the first large rosette leaves which continue to develop until growth is halted by low temperatures. Plants generally flower and produce seeds during the second season. In Canada and the USA, flowering occurs over a period of several weeks, starting in May, peaking in June/July and lasting until October, depending on location and growing conditions.

Whilst the below ground part is edible, the above ground parts are toxic. Various secondary metabolite compounds have been identified in P. sativa, including coumarins, fatty acid esters, flavonoids, furanocoumarins, phenylpropenes, polyacetylenes, and terpenes which may play roles in predator and disease defense (Berenbaum, 1985; Averill and DiTommaso, 2007; Cain et al., 2010). Angular and linear furanocoumarins of various types are produced in varying quantities. Linear furanocoumarins are more toxic than angular furanocoumarins as the former bind with DNA and absorb energy in the presence of UVA light (primarily 320-380 nm) making them more reactive with a variety of biologically important molecules and commonly implicated in phytophotodermatitis. These compounds cause health concerns for humans and livestock, as well as serving as anti-predator and anti-disease defenses (Averill and DiTommaso, 2007; Cain et al., 2010). Linear furanocoumarins are toxic to generalist herbivores but not to species that feed exclusively on Apiaceae. While furanocoumarins are present during the entire life cycle and in all plant parts, concentrations are lower in seedlings compared to adult plants and highest in buds and seeds (Lohman and McConnaughay, 1998). A wild P. sativa seed can contain an average of 38 μg of furanocoumarins in its oil tubes (vittae), almost three times the concentration found in the seeds of cultivated P. sativa (Berenbaum et al., 1984).

Longevity

As a monocarpic perennial, P. sativa normally lives for two growing seasons prior to flowering and dying. Under sub-optimal conditions plants can persist for up to five years before sequestering sufficient reserves to support flowering and fruiting (Baskin and Baskin, 1979). The size of a rosette in a given year determines its fate in the following year (Cain et al., 2010).

Associations

P. sativa will form relationships with arbuscular-vesicular mycorrhizal fungi (Harley and Harley, 1987; Kasowska, 2002).

Environmental Requirements

Although tolerant of wet soils, P. sativa is considered a xerophyte, growing best in mesic to dry soils (Jauzein, 1995; Cain et al., 2010). A wide range of soil types and conditions are suitable for growth, from sandy loams to heavy clays. Rich, calcareous and alkaline soils support the best growth.

 

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Preferred Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Depressaria pastinacella Herbivore Inflorescence not specific
Papilio polyxenes Herbivore Leaves not specific N

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Many species of fungi have been reported on P. sativa, either as parasites or saprophytes (Farr and Rossman, 2008), as well as a few species of bacteria, viruses and other disease causing organisms (Cain et al., 2010). The root feeding carrot rust fly, Psila rosae [Chamaepsila rosae], is a serious pest of cultivated P. sativa and related crops (Dufault and Coaker, 1987; Nonnecke, 1989). Several leaf miner flies, Euleia fratria, Philophylla heraclei [Euleia heraclei], Phytomyza affinis, Phytomyza albiceps and Phytomyza chrysanthemi [Chromatomyia syngenesiae] are reported to utilize P. sativa (Needham et al., 1928; Douglas and Cowles, 2011). About 40 species of Lepidoptera have also been reported on P. sativa; the parsnip webworm, Depressaria pastinacella and the black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, have a close host-herbivore relationship through their furanocoumarin tolerance (Zangerl and Berenbaum, 1993; Zangerl et al., 2008).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal
Seeds mature in mid-summer but unless disturbed, for example by mowing, they do not shatter until late summer or autumn (Baskin and Baskin, 1979). At an average wind velocity of 4.7 m/s, most P. sativa seeds will disperse over short distances (2–5 m) from the parent plant (Jongejans and Telenius, 2001). Warning (1934) speculated that, since umbels and umbellets easily break as stem tissues age and fruits ripen, these larger structures may act as “tumbleweeds” facilitating fruit dispersal. Secondary dispersal is likely accomplished by surface water flow.
 
Vector Transmission
Although occasionally eaten by animals (Cain et al., 2010), there is little evidence that P. sativa seeds are dispersed by animals. However, low levels, about 5%, of secondary dispersal by unidentified granivores other than arthropods and slugs, are reported (Pufal and Klein, 2013).
 
Accidental Introduction
P. sativa seed may contaminate hay or straw commodities which are used for livestock fodder or bedding or seeds may contaminate straw used for packing. Since it often occurs along transportation corridors, it is possible for seeds to become attached to vehicles (road or rail) and transported long distances.
 
Intentional Introduction
P. sativa has been intentionally introduced and grown from seed in many places as an agricultural crop and in home vegetable gardens.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionDeliberate dispersal as a crop species. Less common now Yes Yes Cain et al., 2010
DisturbanceAccidental dispersal through landscaping and soil movement activities Yes Yes Cain et al., 2010
Escape from confinement or garden escapeAccidental escape from agricultural fields and vegetable gardens Yes Yes Cain et al., 2010
Habitat restoration and improvement Yes Yes
HitchhikerAttachment to machinery involved with farming, landscaping and construction activities Yes Yes Cain et al., 2010

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Machinery and equipmentFrequently attached to machinery associated with agriculture, landscaping and construction Yes Yes Cain et al., 2010
Soil, sand and gravelSeeds frequently dispersed with soil movement Yes Yes Cain et al., 2010
WaterInfrequent short distance dispersal of seeds Yes Cain et al., 2010
WindFrequent short distance dispersal of seeds by wind Yes Cain et al., 2010

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Positive and negative

Economic Impact

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It is hard to estimate the economic impact of P. sativa. As a crop it provides income from commercial production. However, it is likely that the cost of control along transportation corridors and disturbed areas is greater than the benefits gained by its culture, especially where introduced. Health costs are also incurred through injury to humans and livestock.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity
Population densities of P. sativa can become quite high, resulting in other lower, shallower-rooted species being outcompeted for resources and displaced. This may reduce native biodiversity in some habitats, or shift plant communities composed of relatively innocuous species to being dominated by a highly toxic one. The vegetative and reproductive phases form canopies at differing heights and compete with other vegetation in different ways.

Social Impact

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P. sativa has both positive as a minor crop species and negative social impacts associated with the health issues of poisoning and phytophotodermatitis caused by wild plants.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Poisoning
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value
P. sativa is grown as a minor vegetable crop in temperate parts of the world (FAO, 2015).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Human food and beverage

  • Root crop
  • Spices and culinary herbs
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Alcohol

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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P. sativa can be distinguished from similar members of the parsley family by its pinnately compound lower stem leaves, with broad, coarsely lobed and toothed leaflets, its yellow flowers, its dorsally flattened brown mericarps and its distinct parsnip odour.

Prevention and Control

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Prevention
P. sativa crops are harvested prior to entering the reproductive stage and therefore do not contribute seed to the environment in which they are planted. Cultivation for seed production, abandoned fields and fields with incomplete harvest and/or poor sanitation can represent a source of escaped plants into new areas.
 
Mechanical Control
It is recommended to cut the rosettes below the soil surface with a hoe during the first season and to mow tops before seeds are formed during the second season (Muenscher, 1980). Plants can also be cut below the root crown before flowers emerge during the second season but this operation will have to be repeated to be efficacious. Mowing should be done when the primary umbel begins flowering (May to June) and can be repeated (up to three times) to ensure no seeds are produced from regrowth. Plants can also be pulled by hand or dug out, especially in most soil, but any handling has to be done wearing gloves, long sleeves and trousers to avoid skin contact and subsequent UV exposure. 
 
Chemical Control
Rosettes (ideally) and adult plants can also be individually spot sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate. If the population is located in perennial grasses (i.e. no other sensitive broadleaf vegetation is present), aminopyralid or diflufenzopyr/dicamba (applied to all rosettes) have demonstrated 99% and 86% control, respectively (OMAFRA, 2014). Other herbicides have also demonstrated efficacy (2,4-D, picloram, triclopyr) (Cain et al., 2010).

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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23/03/2015 Original text by:

Stephen Darbyshire and Marie-Josée Simard, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada

 

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