Agonising encounter ends hike

Margaret Paterson’s hand still throbs some three weeks after coming into contact with a Gympie Gympie.
Margaret Paterson’s hand still throbs some three weeks after coming into contact with a Gympie Gympie. Tanya Easterby

NEARLY three weeks later and Gympie woman Margaret Paterson's hand still flares up with pain after an excruciating encounter with the infamous Gympie Gympie stinging tree.

Ms Paterson's confrontation with one of the world's most painful plants to touch, which lends its name to the town of Gympie, occurred during a family barbecue at Mothar Mountain.

She had taken the hiking trail up to Mt Boulder with her daughter and was nearly back at the carpark when she came face to face with the Gympie Gympie stinging tree.

Ms Paterson's daughter had spotted a beautiful plant bearing berries and the pair stopped on the trail to admire the sight.

Less than a metre off the trail was the stinging tree and the back of Ms Paterson's hand brushed one of the leaves.

As soon as she felt the bristling sensation on her hand and spotted the distinctive heart-shaped leaves, her heart sunk.

"As soon as I touched it, I realised," she said.

It was at this moment the family's relaxing day at Mothar Mountain soured.

"My hand started to swell immediately and the burning pain started," Ms Paterson said.

The Gympie Gympie stinging tree has leaves peppered by minuscule silicon hairs that when touched release a toxin.

"I couldn't see them with my naked eye but I knew they were there and I sure felt it," Ms Paterson said.

The family's barbecue was cut short and Mt Paterson soon found herself at the Gympie Hospital Emergency Department.

A medical team injected her fingers with anaesthetic to deaden the pain and an Elastoplast was used to pull the hairs off Ms Paterson's hand.

After leaving the emergency department, the Gympie woman's daughter consulted the internet for advice.

"We read you could use hydrochloric acid, diluted to 15%, to soak the affected area for half an hour and then use wax removal strips to rip the hairs out," Ms Paterson said.

"It was important to not re-apply the wax strips because that would just push the fine hairs back into my hand and sting me all over again."

The Gympie Gympie victim compared her experience to childbirth and when quizzed about her pain by doctors, gave a 15/10 rating.

"Off the scale," she said.

Almost a month later, Ms Paterson still receives shocks of pain when her hand is exposed to cool water.

"I want people to be aware and to learn from my experience," she said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  injury mothar mountain

Weird world of coffee

SEEDS, NOT BEANS: Coffee beans are actually the seeds of berries from coffee trees, like this one.

I love my cuppa but I'm not a fan of these weird facts.

Drug related matters made multiple appearances in Gympie Magistrates Court

Drug cases in Gympie Magistrates Court

Drug related matters rated some mentions in Gympie Magistrates Court

Fine for mouthy mum - 'Not in front of kids,' says court

ROAD RAGE OUTRAGE: School parking lot no place for swearing, says court.

"She was one so I said it,” says mum outside primary school

Local Partners

Tributes paid to key player who fought Traveston Dam

A FAMILY synonymous with the Sunshine Coast is mourning the death of a man who played an understated but vital role in saving Mary Valley from the Traveston Dam

Submissions to soon close on 2017 Heart of Gold

CALLING ALL FILMMAKERS: Heart of Gold Artistic Director Emily Avila encourages filmmakers to get their entries in for this year's international short film festival.

Film makers only have weeks left to submit

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

How many triangles are in this picture?

The simple illustration has been shared thousands of times on Facebook after leaving viewers scratching their heads.

VIDEO: The 'Disco Boob' trend at Splendour

Rachael Millen, of Newcastle, sporting the fashionable chest peace of glitter at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

VIDEO: Festival organisers forced to clarify policy on nudity.

Bieber quit tour to set up his own church?

Justin Bieber on stage during his concert at ANZ Stadium in Homebush.

Bieber is calling it quits on the rest of his Purpose World Tour

Bachelor hopeful ‘didn’t realise how naked she was’

The Bachelor Australia‘s Leah

Her dress was certainly daring, but she wasn't aware by just how much

Phelps shredded over shark race fiasco

"Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White," with Phelps testing his speed against that of a great white shark.

People are genuinely upset at the way the race was run

Film boss marvels at Sunshine State

FOR REVIEW AND PREVIEW PURPOSES ONLY. Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth in a scene from the movie Thor: Ragnarok. Supplied by Marvel.

Thor: Ragnarok success may mean more Marvel movies for Queensland.

ABC's Q&A: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

Opposition Health Minister Catherine King on the Q & A panel, left, and right, Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

But there was one thing the students weren't discussing.

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home