Re: birding-aus Re: Stinging Trees

To: Carol Probets <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Re: Stinging Trees
From: Laurence and Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 20:50:47 +1000
Carol Probets wrote:
> Thanks to Syd Curtis for his fascinating and informative account of stinging
> trees. I thought it was so interesting I've given a copy of the information
> to friends. The only stinging tree I know of here in the Blue Mountains, NSW
> is a single D. excelsa in the aptly named Murdering Gully at Kanangra Walls
> ? the steep climb out of Kanangra Deep normally used by canyoners.
> I was impressed by the dedication (or masochism) shown by W.D. Francis but
> wonder how often one is likely to come across leaves in the forest which
> have been boiled, baked in an oven or stored between absorbent paper! I
> suppose we can assume these results would also apply to dead leaves on the
> forest floor. Any volunteers to test this?

Yes, dead leaves [brown/grey] will still sting you, but in my experience
the leaves of the young trees are the most potent - quite often the
young trees have very large leaves and are more likely to be camoflaged
behind a fern/palm.  I remember walking 'through' one that was less than
a metre high - got stung on the inside of both thighs - almost bought
tears to my eyes and made me hopping mad - but no problems having a swim
in cold rainforest pool half an hour later.

Bottom line - don't go walking barefoot in the rainforest - sometimes
the ground is covered in gympie leaves ...

But then gympie is only one of many things to watch out for while you
are in the rainforest - raspberry, wait-a-while, 'barbed wire vine',
prickly ferns, spiked trees and stinging nettles are all lurking there.
Then there are the leaches and ticks, and heavy duty ants.  Just as well
the snakes aren't as agressive as the plants!

Regards, Laurie.
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