Poison Sumac: Tale of a Toxic Trailside Beauty

red poison sumac

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

As the crisp days of autumn draw near, I increase my explorations of the wondrous world of our wetlands, swamps, and marshlands. They take on a special peaceful splendor in the waning days of summer, especially in the dawn’s early light. The wetland-embracing trails on the wilder side of Oakland County lure me in as surely as honey bees fly to flowers for nectar and pollen. However, this year as in the years before, I will be watchful for and ever wary of one wetland plant in particular. This plant presents a clear and present danger to humans that have the misfortune of making physical contact. Even touching or brushing against any part of this toxic trailside beauty may lead to a world of woe and in some severe cases of exposure, a visit to an emergency department follows.

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A Dark Secret of Doll’s Eyes

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

As summer fades, Oakland County woodlands and meadows present new opportunities to forage from Mother Nature’s pantry. I look forward to many of our seasonal treats, especially the prized and often hard to find oyster mushrooms, the far more bountiful blackberries, wild grapes, elderberries and black walnuts. The delectable tubers of Jerusalem artichoke, as well as the invasive, but tasty and healthful, berries of autumn olive are other seasonal favorites of mine. Continue reading