The Cow Parsnip is a common plant which you find all over Britain in summer and autumn.

It is one of a large family of plants which have from eight to twenty stiff green spokes at the end of the stem. These spokes are all about the same length, and they stand up like the ribs of an umbrella. In late autumn, when the flowers are withered, the brown ribs still remain on the plant.

Each green rib carries a flat bouquet of flowers. In the centre of this bouquet there are green buds, and all round the buds is a ring of small white flowers.
Cow Parsnip Plant
The stem of the plant is rough and hairy, and it is deeply grooved. The inside is hollow, and when the winter comes, small insects creep into these hollow stems for shelter.

The Cow Parsnip has large, rough leaves. These are covered with coarse hairs, and they always look dusty and shabby. You will notice curious green knobs which appear close to the stem.

These knobs are covered with a thin green sheath, and the flower-bud, with all its spokes still closed, is inside.

This bud grows bigger and bigger until it bursts the sheath. Then the flowers unfold, leaving the green covering still growing from the stem, with a curious green leaf coming out of the end.

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