Pimpinella saxifraga (Burnet Saxifrage)

Plant Info
Also known as: Solid-stem Burnet Saxifrage
Family:Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed, often rocky soil; fields, roadsides
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:2 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: UPL NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Flat clusters (umbels) made up of 7 to 20 groups (umbellets) of 10 to 20 flowers each. Flowers are white, sometimes tinged pink, about 1/6 inch across with 5 petals, a creamy colored center and a pair of styles at the top.

[photo of bractless umbel] The base of both the umbel and umbellets typically have no bracts, occasionally one. Umbellet stalks are 1 to 1½ inches long. Umbels are 2 to 3 inches across.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of lower leaf] Leaves are few and widely spaced, alternate, pinnately compound and variously covered in short hairs. The lowest leaves are up to 12 inches long, its leaflets oval to nearly round with large, coarse teeth. Leaves become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem, becoming deeply lobed in the upper plant.

[photo of stem and sheath] At the base of the leaf is a sheath that wraps around the stem. In the upper stem a leaf may be absent leaving only the sheath. Stems are densely covered in very short hairs and have faint ribbing. Plants are few branched.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a flattened oval pod with faint ribs, less than 1/8 inch long, and splits into 2 seeds.


Just what we needed - a new non-native carrot species. Burnet Saxifrage is not on anyone's radar at this time and is no doubt under-reported in the state due to its (superficial) similarities to other weedy white carrot species, most of which have more finely divided leaves. Its lower leaves and seedlings more closely resemble Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), which has yellow flowers and causes severe burns when affected skin is exposed to sunlight. We found Burnet Saxifrage growing alongside Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota), a much more widespread species with showy bracts, and we received a report from Beltrami County, where it was described as “invading our fields from a neighbor and is laying down a mat that nothing else grows through”. Wisconsin recognizes Burnet Saxifrage as a new invasive species, or at least a species to watch, and it is apparently under-reported there as well.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Elm Creek Park Preserve, Hennepin County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Laura - St. Louis County
on: 2016-10-20 11:10:20

Spotted on a roadside in St. Louis County near Highway 53 south of Cook. Confirmed by the Forest Service.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2016-10-20 14:59:04

Unfortunately, this weed is a lot more widespread than official records show and is just now being reported in a lot of areas. :-(

Posted by: Jeffrey F - St. Louis County
on: 2016-12-12 09:16:02

Also found along Hwy 169, south of Fortune Bay and is growing on private property where it is seen along the highway.

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