Parsnip River

British Columbia. River: Peace River drainage
Flows NW into Parsnip Reach, S end Williston Lake
55°10’22” N 123°4’13” W — Map 093O03 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1974
Official in BCCanada

Adopted in1945 as labelled on BC map 1H, 1917, and as identified in the 1930 BC Gazetteer.

Coordinates of mouth adjusted 3 June 1974 on 93O/3, because of flooding of Williston Lake.

The name of the river comes from the abundance of cow-parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) growing on its banks.” <(a title="Wikipedia" href="">John Macoun, quoted in the report of N.B. Gauvreau, CE, 1891).

R.M. Patterson mentions the “almost tropical growth of the giant cow parsnip from which the river gets is name.” He found this growing up to 7-feet high and says “the din of the rain on the huge leaves was like the rush of a tremendous wind”.

This plant is sometimes called “Indian Rhubarb” since the native Americans eat the petioles or leaf-stalks.


  • Patterson, Raymond Murray [1898–1984]. Finlay’s River. [Reprint Touch Wood 2006], 1968. Google Books
  • Akrigg, Helen B., and Akrigg, George Philip Vernon [1913–2001]. British Columbia Place Names. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997. Internet Archive
  • British Columbia Geographical Names. Parsnip River

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