by Lynne Eckerle
Jackson Audubon’s Tuesday Morning Group traveled to Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton on January 14th for Robert Ayotte’s presentation, Environmental Toxidromes, Rashes, Poisonings and Enviromation. Enviromental Toxidromes are substances that create a syndrome caused by dangerous toxins in the body. Common symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, nausea, vomiting and shaky or blurred vision. Enviromation is the exposure to a poison or toxin resulting from a bite or sting from an animal such as a snake, scorpion, spider, insect or from marine life.
It is surprising the number of plants, insects and animals that cause physical and sometimes physiological reactions. These effects range from the barely noticeable to sneezing and itchy eyes caused by pollens, severe rashes from touching plants such as giant hogweed and a quick and painful death by ingesting poison hemlock.
Also mentioned were the use and dangers of several mind altering substances found in nature. The most bizarre was the practice of sucking toads for the bufotoxin they excrete as a means of self-defense. Bufotoxin can cause hallucinations, uncontrollable salivating, coughing, vomiting and convulsions.
Robert also lead a conifer walk around the pond; explaining how to identify the different species of trees by the formation and placement of the needles, through the shape of the trees and the structure of the pine cones.
Robert is the Vice President of the Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Botanical Club.
Post and Photos by Lynn Eckerle