photoWith today’s walk in the woods, it appears that everything is poisonous. There are so many different varieties of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. But, we forged ahead anyway. At the bottom of the hill, we traipsed through nettles, which stung/itched pretty badly. But we knew they were coming and that the feeling would end. Still, not pleasant.

Finally, we came upon some wild parsnip, and I was told that it releases a substance called psoralen that gets on your skin and, in combination with sunlight, makes that area susceptible to sunburn, blisters, and rash. The reaction is called phytophotodermatitis. It’s actually quite serious, and I learned of a friend’s friend who ended up in the hospital on account of it. But among all the plants attempting to sting, scratch, poison, and blind us today, that one was the most imaginative and collaborative. Imagine, teaming up with the sun to ward off the humans.

My hat’s off to you, wild parsnip. Your super power takes the cake.


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