Saturday, September 8, 2007

Battle of the Briar Patch

Our Sanctuary site holds an unwanted mystery bonus, which attacked me twice, plus one of the Vision Quest youths. No one has seen any poison ivy, nor poison oak, nor even any Virginia creeper. Yet the two of us had a nasty, itching rash break out, diagnosed as poison ivy/etc. by the medics.

My suspicion centers on this particular
specimen. It is a light, climbing, clinging vine, similar to wild grapevine but thinner and less woody stems. It has spines along the stems as tough as rose thorns.

One of these vines reached out and grabbed me (it seemed), and leafy dust fell that felt like tiny pop-rocks (remember that candy?) going off on the back of my hand. Three days later I was under a 7-day steroid therapy. I sure would like to put a name to this my enemy.

Anyone got any ideas?


Anonymous said...

Called cat briar...a member of the smilax family.

Not aware of toxicity, though it can be mean and cause nasty deep scratches which indeed can become infected, but not because of inherant toxicity.

Jonathan Gerber

Rolin said...

Thanks, Jonathan. My first brush with with this critter did give me some nasty punctures on the back of my hand, and I had the poison-ivy-type breakout there and on the wrists. Perhaps the broken skin thanks to the cat briar let an allergen in? Dunno.

Anonymous said...

It's really obnoxious, but it's never given me a rash in the FL panhandle.

Rolin said...

James and I did a walkaround in nearby Long Beach, and he spotted some poison ivy. The plants are quite small and quite scattered so are easy to miss. This probably explains the allergic reaction.

The catbriar is still somewhat nasty if you encounter it unawares. It reminds me of the "wait-a-minute bush" featured in the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy."