Archive for February 5th, 2012

As if living in FL isn’t bad enough dealing with the never-ending mounds of fire ants…

Now I must deal with FireWEEDS?!

Sigh. Yesterday as I was waiting for the waters to finish filling, I noticed some ground cover type plants near the fence to the run in shed. I didn’t want it to have a chance to grow up on the fence so I started pulling it up. My arms immediately began burning! Thankfully, I had my work gloves on. I (stupidly) grabbed the couple other bunches despite the pain and then ran to wash off. Little did I know, this would not work. I sprayed them with the natural antiseptic I use on Cass and hoped it would bring relief. My arms continued to tingle all the way home.

Once home I popped an allergy pill and showered. Arms still tingled all the way up to my shoulders. Scottie brought home 3 different “itch” ointments from the drugstore. None worked. We perused the internet to find out exactly what plant I’d run across and couldn’t find an exact match. I napped while my arms still tingled. As evening hit I emailed our doctor my symptoms and photos of the enemy invader! He got back to me quickly with the answer. I was attacked by a type of Stinging Nettle called Fireweed. We needed to use adhesive tape to pull the stinging arrows out of my arms! Good Grief!

The urticating hair or trichome has a bulbous and very fragile tip which breaks off at an angle and results in a perfect tool for piercing skin.  Basically, the shaft of the hair resembles a glass tube due to the deposition of silica in the cell wall during formation (Thurston 1974).  When the urticating hair tip is broken, it has the action of a hypodermic needle and injects the urticating substances which cause the intense pain and result in irritated skin rashes.  ~ from The Botany Circular #34, FL Dept. Agric. & Consumer Services, Plant Division.

Woke up today with just a slight tingling remaining. The problem now was how to pull up this malicious Fireweed so it could no longer hurt me or the animals. I armed myself with new work gloves, a sturdy rake and a shovel. Thankfully, after walking the fence lines and the barn, there were only a few of these plants intermingled with the harmless foliage. Found this guy hiding in the front of the barn, but not for long!

Eva looked on from the safety of the shed as I extricated the enemy from our lands.

I didn’t have any yard trash bags so had to make do with a regular one. With my goal being to not touch the plant I devised a system to hold the bag open. It worked fairly well. It’s not easy to pick up something without actually picking it up!

I will remain vigilant in my war on these nasty Fireweeds!

Get it Jimi!

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