The giant stinging tree is common up and down the East Coast and particularly in the Daintree region of Queensland.
Ouch: This relatively harmless looking rainforest plant is anything but. Beware it’s painful sting if you come across it in the Kooloonbung Nature Park.
Until recently, it was fairly rare in Kooloonbung NaturePark, seenonly in certain western areas.
It has quitebig leaves and can grow into a large tree, but not so much inKooloonbung. It prefers sunny places and is therefore common along tracks, rainforest edges and gaps.It does have a painfullyintense sting which can last for months and has been described by some as excruciating.
You will be pleased to know that if stung, the plant hairs can beremoved from your skin using wax hair removal strips.The plant hairsare made of silica,the chief ingredient of glass, but the toxic poison they deliver is worse while the hairs remain on your skin.
Sometimes, just being nearbythe plant and breathing in the hair it sheds can cause itching, rashes, sneezing and nosebleeds.Even the dead leaves that fall to the ground can still cause a painful sting. Allergic reactions can be severe, including anaphylacticshock.
What has brought this increase in numbers here in Port Macquarie? We arefortunate in that it is visited by many migratory bird species. There are about 160types of birds from the norththat visit to breed. Theybringwith them adiversified dietincluding, apparently, stinging tree fruit.
Otheranimals also visit and obviously eat what is available. Therehas also been an increase in wild tobacco bush (which musthave tasty fruit as well as leaves), but it is a pest.
Kooloonbung Nature Park contains a wide and diverse range ofplants and animals and is worth a visit, just make sure you stayon the paths. And if you do travel to the rainforests of Queensland, steer clear of these benign looking trees.
If you, would like to join our bunch of enthusiastic volunteerswho help maintain the park, Monday is our main day. We would welcome your help at any time. CallRex on 0429 680 131.