The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a perennial plant grown as an annual vegetable crop and belonging to the Umbelliferae family. Of Eurasian origin, parsnips were brought to North America by European colonists. They have white, fleshy, sweet, slightly acrid roots. Stems, with ovate leaflets, are 40-75 cm high. Improved varieties (eg, Hollow Crown) have short tops and smooth roots, 25-30 cm long and 6-8 cm thick at the shoulders. Canada's temperate climate is well suited to parsnips, which are rich in potassium. Canadian production of parsnips is growing with about 5000 tons produced annually. Ontario is the largest producer of this crop, valued at nearly $5 million.