It's bark will give you a bite
IT looks like a Mulberry tree, but it stings like a blue bottle jellyfish.
Gardening guru and The Morning Bulletin columnist Neil Fisher yesterday revealed a poisonous shrub has been thriving in residential areas affected by last October’s Rockhampton bushfires.
Neil said the plant, called the Shiny-Leaved Stinging Tree or Gympie Gympie, is mostly found where there had been a disturbance to the bushland, and had spread to backyards in fire-affected areas from birds eating the shrubs’ Mulberry-like fruits.
The plant can grow to two metres high and is covered in fine stinging hairs that contain poison.
“In every one of the hairs there is a hollow tube that keeps injecting the poison,” Neil said.
When touched, the poison causes a stinging pain that starts as a tingling sensation and develops into a stabbing pain.
The poison also causes redness, sweating and red swollen spots.
“It’s (the pain) the closest I know to grabbing a blue bottle,” Neil said. “I’ve always been very wary of the plant.”
But even Neil has been a victim of the shrub’s “nasty bite”.
Last week while in his Koongal garden, Neil reached for a plant and felt a stinging pain in his hand before he found this shrub (pictured).
“I never knew how painful it was...I’m worried about a little kid near a plant like that,” he said.
Neil said if you are stung, the best thing is to use sticky tape or wax to remove the stinging hairs.STINGING TREE
Shiny-leaved Stinging Tree or Gympie Gympie
Common dry shrub found in parts of Berserker Wilderness area
Looks like a mulberry tree
All parts are covered in fine, stinging hairs that contain poison
The poison causes redness, sweating, red swollen spots that may persist for days