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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Wild Parsnip - Pastinaca sativa

Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SNA
C-value: 0

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Biennial or short-lived perennial from a stout taproot. Stems erect, 30–80 cm. Herbage glabrous to puberulent. Leaves basal and cauline, petiolate, 10–30 cm long; blades lanceolate, pinnate; leaflets narrowly ovate, toothed, shallowly few-lobed, 2–8 cm long. Umbel compound; peduncle 3–15 cm long; rays unequal 2–10 cm long; involucre and involucel absent. Flowers yellow; sepals absent; stylopodium low-conic. Mericarps glabrous, elliptic to suborbicular, 5–8 mm long, flattened parallel to the commissure; marginal wings ca. 0.5 mm long; dorasl ribs inconspicuous; oil tubes solitary in the intervals, visible as darkened lines (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
Found in open places along roadsides and in waste places throughout the northern United States and Canada, from British Columbia to California and Vermont south to Florida. It endures a wide range of edaphic conditions, usually dry to mesic soils, but occasionally will be found in wet meadows. Grows best on calcareous, alkaline soils.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 31

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Sater, S. 2022. The insects of Sevenmile Creek, a pictorial guide to their diversity and ecology. Undergraduate Thesis. Helena, MT: Carroll College. 242 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Wild Parsnip — Pastinaca sativa.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from