The generic name of this common Parsnip is derived from the latin pastus, meaning food, and alludes to the edible qualities of the fleshy roots, which, according to Pliny, were cultivated along the Rhine before the Christian era, and imported by the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, and used as a food. The Wild Parsnip is a tall, widely branching, long and thick-rooted biennial herb, raising its tough, grooved, and usually smooth stalk from two to five feet in height. The alternating, compound, dark green leaf has several pairs of pointed oval or oblong leaflets, which are more or less lobed and cut, and sharply toothed. They are rather thin-textured and smooth-surfaced. The upper leaves clasp the stalk, and the lower ones are long-stemmed. The numerous tiny yellow flowers are gathered in many small clusters that are finally grouped on slender stems in several, large, terminal, flat-topped disks, similar to, but much larger than the Early or Meadow Parsnip. The seeds are thin, flat and shiny, and the stalk is so very tough that it is broken only with great effort, if indeed it is to be broken at all. This Parsnip is very common along roadsides and open waste places, everywhere, from June to September, throughout the United States and Canada, where it has become naturalized from Europe.