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Invasive wild parsnip. Avoid contact; avoid a nasty rash. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmills727/3644070846/">Douglas Mills</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Invasive wild parsnip. Avoid contact; avoid a nasty rash. Photo: Douglas Mills, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Beware the invasives; and small strawberries are good too!

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Right about now, the roadsides can look more like flower gardens than some gardens do. Wonderful abundant mixes of color, texture, height: all the qualities you look for. Driving the back roads is more of a pleasure than ever.

But beware of a nasty, if beautiful, invasive plant that's taking over the verges in more and more areas. Wild parsnip looks kind of like a tall, yellow Queen Ann's Lace. But don't pick: it reacts with sunlight to produce a painful, scarring rash. Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy says it's a great idea to mow it down to control it's spread, but make sure all your skin is covered when you do. It's bad.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

Littler strawberry, tastier strawberry, says Amy. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/95661536@N05/9000977033/">Wendell Smith</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Littler strawberry, tastier strawberry, says Amy. Photo: Wendell Smith, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
This morning, Amy also reminded people that strawberry season isn't over yet. Growers report customers aren't as happy with the late season berries, which are smaller than the first picking. But Amy says there's nothing wrong with them; in fact they have plenty of flavor. She explains that the second and third round of berries are always smaller than the first picking. That's just the way strawberries roll. For flavor, she tells Martha Foley, "I'd take three little berries for one big crunchy berry from somewhere else any day!"

Some less toxic roadside wildflowers. "There's beauty everywhere," says Martha Foley, even in the "breakdown lane" along the Lake Ozonia Road.
Some less toxic roadside wildflowers. "There's beauty everywhere," says Martha Foley, even in the "breakdown lane" along the Lake Ozonia Road.

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