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December 16, 2018

Beach Plums, beach grass, poison ivy? Island Beach flora

What does moss feel like? Have you ever touched it? We all know the rhyme “leaves of three, let it be” to identify poison ivy. But did you know that poison ivy can also look like a thick, hairy rope? The nearly 400 native and invasive species that grow at Island Beach State Park will be explored during a free program for children and families taking place the next two weekends.

Join Samantha Kuntz, an intern with Save Barnegat Bay and a sophomore at Georgian Court University, at the Interpretive Center at Island Beach on Saturdays and Sundays (May 10, May 11, May 17, and 18) at 10:30 a.m. for a free family-friendly talk about the different species using the Emily deCamp Herbarium, a hands-on activity dissecting flowers, and a walk from the bay to the ocean to identify plant communities. See if you can spot the red cedar, bayberry, high bush blueberry, pitch pine, beach plum, American beach grass and Japanese sedge. The 45-minute program is perfect for children ages 5 and up and their families and is available to the first 20 children.

The program will also take place hourly from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 17 during Ocean Fun Day 2014, a free family event held at Ocean Bathing Area #1 that includes hands-on activities throughout the park’s facilities. Activities include eco tours and workshops and youth fishing clinics, as well as the program utilizing the deCamp Herbarium. For more information about Ocean Fun Days, visit www.njseagrant.org

What’s a herbarium? It is a collection of preserved plants which are annotated for scientific and public study in a filed taxonomic system. The first herbarium dates back to 1578 when a count in Italy established the national herbarium. Presently, there is a functional national herbarium in every nation in the world. In the United States, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. houses about 1.8 million mounted plant specimens from all over the world.

Kuntz, 26, a Toms River resident and biology/pre-med major who hopes to continue her education to become a dentist, said she will talk about grasses, shrubs, trees and plants that are specific to Island Beach.

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“I’ll be exploring plant evolution, starting with algae, then the mosses and ferns, to the pitch pine. All are considered angiosperms,” she said, rattling off the names of common angiosperms that can be found at Island Beach, including Poison Ivy, Seaside Goldenrod, Beach Plum, Red Cedar, Bayberry and High Bush Blueberry.

Kuntz said she will also show children how to dissect a flower and point out the petals, stamen, stigma, stems and leaves that make up a flower and lead a nature walk to find some of the native flora.

The herbarium and Janet’s Garden at Island Beach State Park originated through the support of the deCamp family and friends. It consists of over 400 native and introduced plants found on the barrier beach island. The individual specimens are mounted in glass or plastic-modified Riker mounts, which are presented in a humidity-controlled cabinet under a nine-color coded cross section showing the various plant communities at Island Beach.

Key identifying information is printed on the front of the mount together with the dried plant specimen. The back of the mount has pertinent scientific and general interest information. This is one of the few herbaria, which is open to the public and allows the individual plants to be handled by park visitors.

Want to learn more about Save Barnegat Bay and the Emily deCamp Herbarium? Visit www.savebarnegatbay.org/ and http://savebarnegatbay.org/herbarium/

http://www.georgian.edu/index.htm

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Beach Plums, beach grass, poison ivy? Island Beach flora

Pesky Poison Ivy

Pesky Poison Ivy

Posted at: 07/31/2013 5:00 PM
| Updated at: 07/31/2013 10:41 PM

By: Brittany Falkers

Poison Ivy can grow just about anywhere in our region, especially in Minnesota, and on Park Point in Duluth that’s no exception. The shiny three-leafed plant shows up on the popular local spot each year on the trails, in the sand and even toppling over some walkways.

“Man it’s thick, it’s creeping up on the the boardwalk,” beach goer Larry McCulley Said.

It’s a pain for anyone trying to stay itch free on the beach. But for those with a serious sensitivity to the plant, it can mean a permanent mark. McCulley says he manages to tangle with poison ivy every summer, but last year a big patch on his leg sent him to the doctor’s office and left a scar, several inches long.

“Last summer I had a particularly good case. So I ended up going to the doctor and getting some medicine for it,” McCulley said. “It left me a little scar, a little reminder.”

Most people know those signifier rhymes that are meant to help you identify the plant; such as “leaves of three, let it be” or “hairy vine, no friend of mine.” Yet, year after year outdoor enthusiasts hit up the drug store for calamine lotion and hydrocortisone to get rid of the nasty itch they just somehow got from a romp though the woods.

Dr. Andrew Broadmoore is a physician with St. Luke’s. He says that irritating rash is really just your immune system over-reacting to poison ivy’s oil. “When the plant is bruised or damaged in some way, if you get that oil on your skin, then it kind of seeps into the skin and causes and allergic reaction,” he said.

That allergic reaction factor is why anti-itch ointments are good enough for some, while antibiotics are necessary to treat others, Broadmoore said. Some, more extreme reactions or unbearable rashes require medical treatment. An overwhelming rash many require corticosteroid treatment, such as prednisone.

“I don’t see a huge amount because some people get fairly mild rashes, but for those who get really miserable rashes to the point where they can’t sleep. Those are the one’s that usually come into the doctor,” Broadmoore said.

Reaction times really very when it comes to poison ivy. For those who are very sensitive to the plant, a rash may appear within four hours. However, it might not show up for days or even weeks in others, according to Broadmoore.

“Every body’s immune systems are different. So, some people will react on first exposure,” Broadmoore said. “Some people will never react at all depending on their immune systems.”

Fast action after coming into contact with poison ivy is your best bet in avoiding that relentless rash, according to Broadmoore. He says to wash your skin with soapy water, preferably with a detergent soap, within two hours of exposure, the sooner the better.

Protective clothing will help to avoid skin exposure. However, the plant’s oil sticks to shoes and clothes. So, Broadmoore recommends washing those right away as well.

Poison ivy can be a real nuisance for beach goers, but for those with wandering pets. Sharon Manns bring her dog Byron to Park Point for exercise often, but says she won’t even trust a retractable leash to keep him out of it.

“He [Byron] loves to be out. He loves to be on trails,” Mannsa said. “But the thing thing we have to remember, when walking on the trails here because of the poison ivy, is to keep him on a short leash.”

The plant can be a pain, but getting rid of poison ivy can be even trickier. If you try to dig up the plants or pull them, be careful. The roots secrete some of the most potent oils and can be very dangerous, Broadmoore said. Burning the plant puts the oils in the air and can cause respiratory problems. Broadmoore says even dead poison ivy can cause a skin reaction. So, he suggests to avoid it if at all possible.

“Visit Park Point. I think it’s wonderful, it’s one of our best assets in Duluth, but just be watchful. Be Aware,” Manns said. “it’s like the rip tides or anything else, you just have to be aware of your surroundings… And in Park Point a reality is that there is poison ivy.”

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