PARSLEY FAMILY - Umbelliferae: Wild or Field Parsnip; Madnep; Tank
Flowers--Dull or greenish yellow, small, without involucre or involucels; borne in 7 to 15 rayed umbels, 2 to 6 in. across. Stem: 2 to 5 ft. tall, stout, smooth, branching, grooved, from a long, conic, fleshy, strong-scented root. Leaves: Compounded (pinnately), of several pairs of oval, lobed, or cut sharply toothed leaflets; the petioled lower leaves often 1-1/2 ft. long.
Preferred Habitat--Waste places, roadsides, fields.
Distribution--Common throughout nearly all parts of the United States and Canada. Europe.
Men are not the only creatures who feed upon such of the umbel-bearing plants as are innocent--parsnips, celery, parsley, carrots, caraway, and fennel, among others; and even those which contain properties that are poisonous to highly organized men and beasts, afford harmless food for insects. Pliny says that parsnips, which were cultivated beyond the Rhine in the days of Tiberius, were brought to Rome annually to please the emperor's exacting palate, yet this same plant, which has overrun two continents, in its wild state (when its leaves are a paler yellowish green than under cultivation) often proves poisonous. A strongly acrid juice in the very tough stem causes intelligent cattle to let it alone--precisely the object desired.