offtopic: poisonous weeds
Sun, 14 Aug 2005 13:04:32 PDT
In a message dated 8/14/05 12:01:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
In a few weeks my car will be painted pokeweed red courtesy of the birds.  

Dennis in Cincinnati where the pokeweed grows thick!
A word of warning regarding Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana.  It's common here 
too.  Few people realize that the juice from broken stem/leaves on the 
Pokeweed can deliver a skin dermatitis reaction much more virulent than poison ivy.  
I learned the hard way.…

Another common weed can also cause terrible dermatitis, is well known as a 
poisonous plant (to ingest), but I had little idea just how potent a dermatitis 
reaction the plant was capable of (from the sap of the plant).  The plant is 
Solanum dulcamara, with the best known common name of bitterweet nightshade, 
but also called woody nightshade, climbing nightshade,  and deadly nighshade 
(the "deadly nightshade" in Europe is a different plant). This plant is an Asian 
invader that is very common throughout much of the USA.……

I was clearing an overgrown area, where there was indeed some poison ivy.  
Having received small outbreaks of poison ivy for half a century, I know how 
poison ivy affects me, and invariably, even while being careful not to touch it, 
I get a few patches of dermitis... typically small hard blistering bumps that 
are very itchy.  But I wasn't paying attention to the large amount of Pokeweed 
and Bitterweet Nightshade in the area, even knowing their latin names and 
knowing they're poisonous to ingest. I didn't give the dermatitis view much 
consideration, aside from the poison ivy.  I was wearing gloves.  I ended up with a 
horrific skin reaction over a large area of one arm, blisters several 3-6 cm 
across, about 1 - 1.5 cm tall, filled with liquid.  It looked like a 3rd 
degree burn, and required 2-1/2 weeks of constant triple-layers of gauze bandaging 
from wrist to elbow, changed and treated 5-6 times a day.  Now I have infinite 
respect for these two common weeds... but wish I knew which of the two was 
truely responsible, or perhaps it was an aggregate effect from both.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
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