Wild Parsnip: is this the one we are all supposed to be freaking out about?

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Kate Aley

In short, no.

The massive invasive toxic weed we are supposed to fear and loathe is Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).Originally from eastern Europe and imported as a decorative garden accent, if you can believe it, Giant Hogweed grows to about five meters tall and is filled with noxious sap that burns skin deeply.

However, Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) (the yellow-flowered one here, seen with white-flowered Queen Anne's Lace and other stuff) is no mild-mannered maiden either. Contact with the sap also causes severe skin irritation, especially if you are mowing the stuff while wearing shorts.

This is how the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit describes it:

"Wild Parsnip plants have chemicals called psoralens (more precisely, furocoumarins) that cause phyto-photodermatitis: an interaction between plants (phyto) and light (photo) that induce skin (derm) inflammation (itis).  Once the furocoumarins are absorbed by the skin, they are energized by UV light on both sunny and cloudy days. They then bind to DNA and cell membranes, destroying cells and skin. Wild Parsnip burns usually occur in streaks and elongated spots, reflecting where a damaged leaf or stem moved across the skin before exposure to sunlight. If the sap gets into the eyes, it may cause temporary or permanent blindness."

So that is bad, right?

Wild Parsnip, also invasive, also from Europe, is again bountiful in ditches and along roadsides this year. You can get rid of it but it's a complicated process. Putting on three pairs of leather trousers is the first step, I think.

The jury still seems to be out on whether Giant Hogweed has ever been officially identified in this area. I did see a very tall nasty-looking plant on the side of the 148 in Clarendon last year. I can assure you every inch of it screamed: "DON'T TOUCH". If you have ever read John Wyndham's terrifying novel Day of the Triffids, you'll agree that this is probably what the triffids looked like.

 

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Warming up for Christmas at the Santa Claus Parade

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Kate Aley

Once more the Quyon Lions' Club Santa Claus Parade, held Saturday December 9, was a great success. Warmly-dressed families lined the streets to enjoy the decorated floats, horses and of course, St. Nick himself. As the Beach Barn is conspicuously absent this year, the parade's normal route was reversed, with participants gathering at the Ste. Marie's Catholic church parking lot and walking down the hill to the intersection with Clarendon. From there, the parade continued to the Onslow Elementary School gym where hot food and drinks were served as kids lined up to speak to Santa about a few important matters.

Slippery sh*t: unidentified effluent causes accident

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Kate Aley

A serious single-vehicle roll-over was caused early morning on December 4 by a deep slick of some kind of waste matter spilled on Highway 148 near Parker Road in Luskville. Pools of what appeared to be septic waste or liquid animal manure were at least two or three meters in length and possibly 4 cm in depth, according to witnesses.

Christmas House Tour lights up the night

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Kate Aley

The houses on the Quyon Pastoral Charge Christmas House Tour warmly received 150 visitors this year. Five family homes in Quyon and Luskville were decorated to perfection to the appreciation of all. Above, the Draper homestead in Luskville.

Scheer in Pontiac: We shouldn’t let the politics of envy divide one group of Canadians against another

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Thomas Soulière

SHAWVILLE — The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada spent the first day of December visiting the federal riding of Pontiac with stops in Campbell’s Bay, Fort Coulonge and Shawville to speak to farmers, small business owners and voters about the CPC’s position on the Liberal government’s tax policy and to show the Conservative’s strong support of supply management.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas: Luskville craft bazaar

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by: 

Kate Aley

Slippery driving and chilly weather did not deter participants from attending the annual craft bazaar and breakfast event at the Luskville Community Centre on Sunday, November 19th.

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