1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Parsnip
PARSNIP, botanically known as Pastinaca sativa (or Peucedanum salivum), a member of the natural order Umbelliferae, found wild in roadsides and waste places in England and throughout Europe and temperate Asia, and as an introduced plant in North America. It has been cultivated since the time of the Romans for the sake of its long fleshy whitish root, which has a peculiar but agreeable flavour. It succeeds best on a free sandy loam, which should be trenched and manured in the previous autumn, the manure being well buried. The seed should be sown thinly in March, in rows 15 to 18 in. apart, and finally thinned out to 1 ft. apart. The leaves will decay in October or November, when a portion of the roots may be taken up and stored in dryish sand for immediate use, the rest being left in the ground, to be taken up as required, but the whole should be removed by February to a dry cool place, or they will begin to grow. The best sorts are the Hollow-crowned, the Maltese and the Student. Dusting the ground with soot when sowing the seed and again when the leaves appear will keep the plants free from pests.