More about Opopanax (Opopanax Chironium)
This plant from the Umbelliferae (Carrot family) called “Rough Parsnip”, is indigenous to the south of Europe but also grows in cooler climates. A perennial, with a thick, fleshy root, yellowish in color. It has a branching stem growing about 30-90 cm high, thick and rough near the base. Leaves pinnate, with long petioles and large serrate leaflets, the terminal one cordate, the rest deficient at the base, hairy underneath. The flowers, yellowish, are in large, flat umbels at the top of the branches.
On wounding the stalk-base, or the root, a yellowish lactescent juice exudes and concretes. This is Opopanax. The best grade is that which occurs in irregularly angular pieces, or sub-globular tears, varying in size, and of a reddish or yellowish-brown color. It readily fractures, displaying a waxy interior, and often exhibits imbedded fragments of vegetable tissues.