Monday, August 22, 2016

More Dangers in Australia

One item about our trip to the Bunya Mountains I failed to include in the previous post on this topic is that there trees in the forest that are out to get you. Even paradise has a dark side.

In the photo above, you see a Bunya Pine on the left and in the middle distance (a good place to keep them) a pair of buttressed Stinging Trees.

From Wikipedia:

The hairs of the tree exist on all aerial parts, and can cause a severe reaction when in contact with human skin, so it is a hazard to livestock, travelers and campers. Even so, the tree is an important member of the ecosystems of eastern Australian forests. The sting is considered more severe than Dendrocnide photinophylla (shining-leaved stinging tree), but not as severe as Dendrocnide moroides (gympie stinger).
Leaf surface of giant stinging tree showing the stinging hairs.
Minor stings can last for an hour or two. However, severe stinging can last for months. First aid for the sting is to apply wax hair-removal strips and then yank them off to remove the hairs.[2] Dendrocnide stings have been known to kill dogs and horses that have brushed against them.[2][3]
Marina Hurley, a leading researcher of stinging trees, found the only way she could handle the plant to study it was with heavy welding gloves.

So, this is pretty serious thing to not get close to. This is part of the reason why my photos of it are not very good. Of course, we were alerted to the danger by a handy sign along the path.

I took this seriously and stayed right in the middle of the pleasantly wide walking path. Since I have a history of not being good identifying things like poison ivy (no matter that I know it is leaves of three: every plant looks that way to me in the woods), I decided that all trees were to be avoided to save me from unnecessary pain. This works for me.