Summer brings out the best in Minnesota–mosquitoes, wasps, poison ivy and wild parsnip. I did not know about wild parsnip until a few years ago, when Janet told me about it. Fortunately, I have not had a personal encounter with it.
What is the big deal with wild parsnip? It is an invasive species that grows along the side of roadways. It is a yellow flowering plant, growing from 6″ to 4′ high. You won’t feel much if you rub up against it. Until you see sunlight. When skin that has been in contact with wild parsnip is exposed to sunlight, the skin will burn and blister. This is a big deal for anyone working along roadways, for bicyclists who stop alongside a road, or anyone else who may stop or walk along areas that have wild parsnip.
The Minnesota DNR has a page dedicated to this plant: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/herbaceous/wildparsnip.html