Iowa woman burned by weed that 'eats away at your skin'


An Iowa woman recovering from a blistering burn she received after gardening in her yard is warning of a poisonous weed that likely did the deed.

Fox6now.com reported that Wendy Prusha, of Des Moines, had been digging up orange flowers when she touched what looked like a harmless wildflower but was actually wild parsnip. Contact with the poisonous plant landed her in the emergency room, the news website reported.

“It’s a constant burning, and it eats away at your skin,” Prusha told fox6now.com.

Touching wild parsnip— which resembles a dill plant or Queen Anne’s lace— led Prusha’s forearm to blister, redden and become cracked. The news website reported that chemicals from the weed’s juice react with sunlight, an effect that causes human cells and tissue to break down.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has warned of emerging wild parsnip across the state. On average, the plant stands 4 feet tall, and it is most commonly found along bike trails, in open fields and prairie areas, and by roadside ditches.

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Fox6now.com did not report on Prusha's current condition, but the woman's family has mowed over the plant in her yard to kill the weed. Now, she is determined to warn others of its dangers.

“Let them know what it looks like and to tell to them to stay away from it,” Prusha told fox6now.com.