Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Flora and Fauna to beware of

Form the article dated Thursday June 06 2013, Vancouver Sun, West Coast News, Page A3
BOTANY - Beware of nature's belligerent bounty

As the weather warms and we spend more time outside, we need to be more aware of our surroundings: including flowers and plants, which cannot only pose health risks, but threaten our lives.  Many of the most dangerous plants in BC are also invasive, according to Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of BC.
Invasive plants are non-native plants that cause environmental or economic harm.  About 60 percent, she said have been introduced by gardeners and horticulturists.  Wallin said her organizations goal is to work with retail stores so they don't sell giant hogweed, gorse, Scotch broom, and other invasive species.
      From the article - Giant Hogweed
           Found throughout South and Central Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and Greater               Vancouver.  The plant's sap becomes toxic on contact with sunlight.  After several hours, the skin will redden, blister, and may scar for months or years.  Giant Hogweed is difficult to miss, it grows up to six meters tall and when it blooms in the summer, it forms clusters of small white flowers up to a meter in diameter.
From the article  - Scotch Broom:
At one time pioneers roasted the seeds and used the resulting brew as a coffee substitute. That's not done anymore because the seeds, leaves and pods contain toxins that can affect the nervous system and the heart.  Also, the plants pollen has been singled out as a major cause of hey fever.  Found in Southern coastal BC, it has a distinctive pea-like bright yellow flowers.
You might be wondering why I have chosen to make this article about invasive plants.  Well, they are along the roadways that we ride, train, and stop... and yes at times go into the wilds along the way to react to nature's call.
There are those that do the long distance rides and tour, and stop along the sides of the road to camp and relax.
The above noted plants named are nasty little and not so little  buggers.  I have seen the giant hogweed along the side of the highway here in Maple Ridge, and we have all seen the Scotch Broom at one time or another.
As riders we want to have a great ride, enjoy the scenery, and enjoy the day. 
I suggest that when planning a ride that you check out the maps and any other resources available to you.  This advice will assist you where ever you ride, any where in our great world.
Make sure that you have any medication you will/might require with you.  Bee stings jump to mind, an EPPE Pen.  You don't have to carry a big bottle, but just a couple in case.  You know What if - What if.  might I suggest that you carry these items next to your identification card that has allergies and emergency phone contact, and carry them in a plastic zip-lock baggie. YES, ZIP-LOCK IS YOUR FRIEND.
Safety comes in many forms and for those that practise it on a regular bases it becomes second nature.  We all know Mr MURPHY and how he likes to ride with us and come out when he choses, not us.  What would have been a minor problem can quickly become a major problem, and possibly grow into an emergency.
Sun screen/ sun block, water, and snacks are also part of being safe and keeping an enjoyable day enjoyable.  We have all been there, bright red skin - looking like a lobster just coming out of the pot. In this day and age of sun protection we should be able to cut this colour change to only a couple times a year.
Please check the web for the plants listed above and make sure if you are going to be around them know what not to do or where to "go", and be careful wiping your hands across your bare skin.

Thanks for stopping by,
Safe Ride Home.


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