I've had personal experience with stinging trees on two occasions:
First was a tree in Boorganna Nature Reserve (inland from Wauchope) - the
back of my hand accidentally brushed against the tree's leaves, the sting
was quite painful but lasted only about 5-7 minutes. People told me that
I'd have the same pain on the annual anniversary of this incident, but that
proved to be an old wives tale. (Despite this, I can recommend Boorganna as
a very pretty place to visit).
The discomfort in the above case was certainly "inconvenient" but generally
no big deal. However the next time I was stung was absolutely dreadful.
I was on Cabbage Tree Island (Port Stephens, north of Sydney) working on the
Gould's Petrel Conservation Program. A huge storm came in and, as it can be
dangerous to be on the slippery rocks/boulders in the wet, we were rushing
to get back to camp. I was in shorts, and my leg from about mid thigh down
to below the knee brushed against a stinging tree.
I was in bad pain for hours, no medicine worked (external anti-sting spray),
and I suffered cramps and uncontrollable nervy jumpiness down my leg. I
hoped it would last only for a few minutes as per the Boorganna "incident",
but it went on and on for hours. The fact that I had no control over the
spasms in my leg was of concern to me, but eventually it went away and I've
never had any after-effects.
Oh, what we volunteers put up with!!!
Happy birding to you all
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