Grab your sunscreen, big floppy hat and bottle of water to gear up for a hike on our Shingle Creek Regional Park Trail. The park is approximately 200 acres that allows visitors to experience vivid encounters with a wild and vanishing Florida while exploring the walking trails, conservation areas and miles of undeveloped land.
As with any outdoor adventure, there are some things to be cautious of when exploring. We’ve got a rundown of 5 plants to avoid when on the Shingle Creek Regional Park Trail to help you enjoy your experience to the fullest and keep you safe at the same time.
Poison oak. Poison oak is a woody vine or shrub known for causing itching and allergic rashes after direct contact by touch. The leaves of poison oak are divided into three leaflets with scalloped, toothed or lobed edges. They name poison oak comes from its resemblance of the oak trees’ leaves but poison oak tends to be more glossy in appearance.
Poison Ivy. A flowering plant known for causing itching, irritation and sometimes a painful rash in most people who touch it caused by the sap of the plant. Although it has the name of ivy it is more commonly thought of as a weed. The leaves of poison ivy are three almond-shaped leaflets ranging in color from light green to dark green and even red at times.
Poison Sumac. Poison sumac is a woody shrub or small tree that causes irritation to the skin and mucous membranes and when burned can even cause an appearance of a rash on the lining of the lungs. Each leaf has 7-13 leaflets that are 2-4 inches long and are oval or oblong in shape. It bears small berry-like fruits that are flat and tends to grow in very wet or flooded soils such as swamps.
Stinging Nettle. This weak-stemmed herb blooms from spring to summer in Florida and has has soft green leaves that are hairy. The hairs from the leaves and stem can come off when touched and act like a needle of sorts, injecting chemicals from the plant that cause a painful “pins and needle” like sting.
Arrowhead Plant. For those hikers who bring pets along, the arrowhead plant would be one to steer clear of. When ingested by dogs or cats it can cause drooling, vomiting, pawing at and swelling of the mouth, increased respiratory effort and/or difficulty breathing.
A few other common native plants that we at the Osceola County Historical Society warn you to be watchful of if ingested are the Castor Bean, Deadly Nightshade, Brazilian Pepper, Wild Balsam Apple, Cherokee Pea, Rosary Pea and Wild Lantana.