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

Free art classes for the municipality: meet the teachers

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Kate Aley


Thanks to the generosty of the Municipality of Pontiac, four art classes are being offered to our community, absolutely free of charge. Details of the classes can be found in your fall activities bulletin, delivered in your mail box last week. Pontiac2020.ca interviewed the four teachers to find out more about the classes and the artists.

100 Homes in Pontiac Hit by Devastating Tornado Plowing Across Outaouais Region

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Thomas Soulière

It was one minute after five o’clock on Friday afternoon when the tornado that made landfall 9 kilometers away in Dunrobin, Ontario crossed Route 148 in the Breckenridge sector of the Municipality of Pontiac.

A Tale of Two Approaches

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Sheila McCrindle and Kevin Brady

See Also: When you live in a place without curbs, does it make sense to have ‘curbside’ collection of compost?

The MRC des Collines de Gatineau is comprised of 7 municipalities. The smallest Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is small enough to be exempt from complying with the Provincial Residuals Strategy. The two most densely populated, Cantley and Chelsea, have respectively 83 and 60 people per square kilometre. These two municipalities also have the highest median household income by a considerable margin.

When you live in a place without curbs, does it make sense to have ‘curbside’ collection of compost?

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Sheila McCrindle and Kevin Brady


Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Québec residual materials management strategy includes a progressive reduction and eventually a “ban” of organic material from municipal landfills by 2020.  Municipalities who comply with the policy are eligible for funding to help offset the costs.   The Municipality of Pontiac has responded by passing a resolution to initiate door to door collection with costs paid for by the residents. 

Fun for all: new play equipment at Onslow Elementary

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Kate Aley

If you hear a higher pitch of childhood enjoyment coming from the Onslow Elementary School playground at break time, it's probably due to the exciting new playground equipment installed there last week. Pontiac2020.ca asked Home and School committee representative Stacy Johnston for some details.

Pontiac Community Gym hopes to open by end of year

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Kate Aley

Despite some setbacks and delays, work continues on the building on Clarendon Street that will house the Pontiac Community Gym. Coordinator Rachelle Dinelle gave Pontiac2020.ca an update.

Dedicated volunteer recognized with Governor General's medal

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Kate Aley

Luskville's Hélène Belisle (above) has been an extraordinary force for good in the Pontiac for decades. She has served as councilor for the Municipality of Pontiac, as a school board commissioner for the Commission scolaire des portages-de-l'Outaouais (CSPO), instigated and still facilitates the breakfast club at Notre Dame-de-la-Joie in Luskville, all while operating her own small business, Salon Chez Hélène. On September 11, Belisle was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians through the office of the Governor General of Canada.

Lacing up for the 2018 Terry Fox Run

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Kate Aley

September brings many things, among them cooler weather, fall fairs and the Terry Fox Run.

Regional coordinater John Petty is once again chasing the elusive goal of having 200 participants at this years run on Sunday, September 16.

Petty, along with his late wife Betty and legendary friend Rick Valin, has been facilitating the run practically since there was one.

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