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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Pastinaca sativa (Parsnip)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Euasterid II > Order: Apiales > Family: Apiaceae

The Parsnip is a root vegetable, eaten cooked. It is in the same family as the Carrot (Apiaceae) and like carrots it is biennial producing a long edible tapering root in its first year and then flowering the following year. Wild Parsnip is native to central and southern Europe. The origin and date of domestication of Parsnip is uncertain. It is thought to have been eaten by the Greeks and Romans but the literature is difficult to interpret because of the use of terms that might be confused with Carrot.


  • Phillips, R. & Rix, M. 1993. Vegetables. Pan Books, London.

Text by Hamish Robertson