Naughty by Nature

It’s been a bit of a challenging week as I’m adjusting to cold mornings, dealing with a case of contact dermatitis and anticipating an increase in workload.  In an attempt to diminish my own agitations, I thought I’d write a short post this week paying tribute to nature’s great agitator.

IMG_1020a-crThis summer while on a hike, I noticed a plant on the trailsides whose leaves were turning shades of brilliant red, making a showy impression against its verdant surroundings, at times glistening like hard candy in the sun.  I couldn’t resist trying to capture the beauty of these leaves with my camera.  But when I got home, the photos didn’t seem to do them much justice.

I decided to do some research to determine the name of this plant and discovered it is none other than poison oak!  What a minx!  Seducing naïve hikers like me with a dazzling glow, inviting me to come closer for a better shot.  That would’ve been one painful lesson for this novice to learn.

Now that I know how to identify it, I see it often.  I highly recommend making sure you know how to identify the plant (see this thorough publication), especially before going out to collect some colorful fall leaves.  I saw some horrendous images on the internet of people who had severe reactions to the plant.  Of course, you could be immune to it, but that’s one of those things I don’t care to find out about myself. IMG_1465a-cr

In my research, I found this amazing article.  Apparently, I’m not the only one enchanted by the beauty of poison oak.  But I can easily promise I won’t be participating in their peculiar annual ritual.


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