Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Contact with the leaves or twigs causes the hollow, silica-tipped hairs to penetrate the skin. The hairs cause an extremely painful stinging sensation that can last for days, weeks, or months, and the injured area becomes covered with small, red spots joining together to form a red, swollen welt. The sting is infamously agonizing. Ernie Rider, who was slapped in the face and torso with the foliage in 1963, said "For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so. The stinging persisted for two years and recurred every time I had a cold shower. ... There's nothing to rival it; it's ten times worse than anything else." However, the sting does not stop several small marsupial species, including the red-legged pademelon, insects and birds from eating the leaves.
Australian of course.