Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip, Heracleum lanatum

Cow Parsnip flower just beginning to open up, photographer Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

The Latin name Heracleum is very appropriate for this plant as it truly does grow to Heracleum proportions, sometimes up to 10 feet. You will find Cow Parsnip starting to bloom in the Darrington, Washington area in later June along roads where there is full sun and seepage and growing in profusion on glades as the snow banks begin to melt.  Goat Lake and Peek-A-Boo Lake are good places to see Cow Parsnip.

Cow Parsnip flower, photographer Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

The Cow Parsnip was an important food source of the Native Americans, also a valuable food for elk. deer, bear and mountain goats. Gathering this plant is not recommended as a food source, as it is easily confused with the Conium maculatum which is highly poisonous.