[caption id="attachment_986" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="These beautiful berries caused me a lot of pain."][/caption]
New Englanders like to exaggerate. On a nice day in June, they like to scare you with tales of how it snowed two feet on the same day when they were kids. So, when I heard about the perils of poison parsnip, I filed away the information but wasn't terribly concerned about how it might affect me. Yes, I heard that contact with its sap caused blistering and painful rashes, but I didn't know until last week (when I was forced to do further research) that the scars from the rashes can last for years. I didn't know that two things have to happen in order for a reaction to occur: contact with the plant juices and then immediate exposure to sunlight. These two factors created a perfect storm of problems for me last week while I was picking wild raspberries along our road. I was excited about how prolific the fruit has been this year, and even the wild bushes have been producing bowlfuls of bright, juicy berries that I've been baking with and freezing. It's been hot here lately, so I've been skipping out every morning in shorts and flip flops (you can see where this is going!). Apparently, I got some sap on my ankle, and by Friday morning, I had a purple-brown streaky burn and my foot and ankle were swollen. Grossly swollen, like my foot could witness its own weather patterns and have its own zip code. It's made it difficult to bake and do my market stuff this week, and it pulled the plug on me hiking with my husband on his Long Trail journey. I guess I'm a believer now...I certainly won't take poison parsnip for granted again, although I still don't believe in two feet of snow in June.
Sun, July 17, 2011