One to three feet high. Leaves. - Twice or thrice-compound, leaflets oblong to lance-shaped, toothed. Flowers. - Yellow, small, in compound umbels.
This is one of the earliest members of the Parsley family to appear. Its golden flower-clusters brighten the damp meadows and the borders of streams in May or June and closely resemble the meadow parsnip, Thaspium aureum, of which this species was formerly considered a variety, of the later year.
The tall, stout, common wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa, is another yellow representative of this family in which white flowers prevail, the three plants here mentioned being the only yellow species commonly encountered. The common parsnip may be identified by its grooved stem and simply compound leaves. Its roots have been utilized for food at least since the reign of Tiberius, for Pliny tells us that that Emperor brought them to Rome from the banks of the Rhine, where they were successfully cultivated.