BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont’s Health Department has put out a warning about the wild parsnip, a plant common to roadsides, fields and meadows that can cause serious skin reactions in people exposed to its sap in sunlight.

The plant is also abundant in Maine and other New England states.

During peak summer months, contact with the sap of the wild parsnip causes a chemical burn. The sap is exposed when the plant is cut or knocked down. Reactions start about 24 to 48 hours after contact with the sap and sunlight and includes redness, burns similar to second-degree sunburns, painful rashes and raised blisters.

The plant is a member of the carrot family that reaches a height of 2 to 4 feet with leaves that resemble celery leaves and yellow flowers that look similar to Queen Anne’s Lace.

People who get sap on their skin should wash it with soap and water and protect skin from sunlight for at least 48 hours.

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