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Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 3-Plant Encounters

On day 3 of my "31 Days to Becoming a Smarter Hiker" series I will be talking about plants you may encounter on your hikes to be aware of.  When you decide on a hike, you want to know what plants you may encounter, specifically, the poisonous and dangerous ones.

Have you ever been out in the woods and come home with a weird rash or itchy/irritated area?  You don't know what could have caused it. I have to admit, when I first started hiking, I couldn't identify poison ivy if it rubbed up against me and caused a rash right there and then.  In Washington state we have poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettles.
All 3 can cause a rash and uncomfortable itching and stinging.  Depending on where you live, you want to be able to identify potentially irritating plants so that you can avoid them on your hike (especially if you have children with you).  For example you don't want to hand your child a poison ivy leaf to wipe with after going to the bathroom.  EWWW.
Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy Rash
As you can see, poison ivy can cause blistering.  This picture is extremely mild compared to other images I found, but I didn't want to gross you out.
Poison Oak
Notice the uneven edges of the leaves.  Poison Oak cases a similar rash as poison ivy.
Stinging nettles
Stinging Nettles Rash
I will discuss treatment of these irritants in a later post.  So, research what plants you may come into contact with on your hike and be prepared to avoid them.
As far as berries go, heed your mother's advice and don't eat any berries unless you know exactly what they are.

Do you have any poisonous plants in your neck of the woods?  Tell us about them.

Stay safe and Happy Hiking!

1 comment:

  1. My hubby always says...leaves of 3, leave them be!
    We have experienced the wrath of poison oak and it is NOT fun. Thanks for the good lesson...we want to keep enjoying our hikes!