Ramblings 7-3

When I drove around the corner from Main Street onto River Road the other day, many tall yellow flowers caught my eye. Why didn't I see this plant last year the many times I walked to town? There are so many plants of this species there now, they must have been there.

This is a "lifer," but not a welcome one. "Biodiversity" is not a good thing when it means another non-native plant, and this one is a doozy!

A couple of years ago I heard about someone cutting roadside plants up in North River and getting a really nasty allergic reaction on their arms-red, swollen, itchy and big blisters. These plants caused the problem. They are about four feet tall, are in the parsley family so they have highly dissected leaflets; they have ribbed stalks, and tiny yellow flowers in a flattish umbel-which is a cluster of flowers whose stalks all start from the same place, like Queen Anne's Lace.

If you see any of these you should notify the town highway supervisor who will warn his crew to be careful cutting along the roadside. I cut most of the flowering stalks wearing gloves, long sleeves and long pants, but left one flowering stalk for him to see at the corner of Main and River Road just over the guardrail. But Google it if you want to see a picture.

So, by Wednesday I had tiny non-itchy blisters on the underside of my left forearm. That's not how poison ivy starts for me, and I hadn't been in any that I knew of. I get a few very itchy blisters. In a couple days my arm developed be red patches and blisters, but it still hardly itched at all. In another couple days I developed some red rash on the tops of my feet, and when I finally looked, I had red spots all over my body, but not blisters. Never in my life.

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