Beware…the Poodle-dog Bush

Purple-flowered poodle-dog bush, grow­ing in burn areas, is haz­ard to humans.

Poodle-dog bush flowers (danger!!!)

Poodle-dog bush flow­ers (danger!!!)

A pretty purple-flowered bush bloom­ing on the hills of the burned areas is a dan­ger to peo­ple, accord­ing to the Depart­ment of Forestry. As a result of South­ern California’s recent fires, hik­ers need to be aware of poodle-dog bush grow­ing along the trails.

The flower, com­monly known as poodle-dog bush, is an irri­tant akin to poi­son oak, said forester Eric Oldar.

“In the Spring, the flo­ral stalk is bril­liant and it’s very attrac­tive, espe­cially along hik­ing trails or roads where peo­ple make a stop,” Oldar said. “They’ll go out and actu­ally pick it and take it home as a flower arrange­ment, not know­ing that con­tact, for the vast major­ity of the pub­lic, will cause a poi­son oak reac­tion. Later in the sea­son, the flow­ers drop and the shrub will con­tinue to exist, but it has no par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter­is­tic that would cause the pub­lic to come in con­tact with it.”

Poodle-dog bush very prevalent along trails after a fire.

Poodle-dog bush is fre­quently preva­lent along trails after a fire.

Symp­toms range from itch­ing to a rash or blis­ters last­ing as long as two weeks. George Ewan with the Orange County Fire Author­ity said the pain is rem­i­nis­cent to com­ing in con­tact with sting­ing nettles.

“It’s like that except it doesn’t wear off,” Ewan said. “It goes for quite a while.“
Oldar said the bush is typ­i­cally dor­mant, but is preva­lent after a major dis­tur­bance like fire or some­thing that takes the area back to the bar­ren ground,” Oldar said. “It will blos­som, grow, and even­tu­ally be replaced by other dom­i­nant veg­e­ta­tion until another dis­tur­bance occurs.” The preva­lence period could last as long as a decade, which is one of the rea­sons his depart­ment is try­ing to get the word out about the bush. Another rea­son is because of the attrac­tive­ness of the flower.

Oldar said peo­ple should go to their doc­tor if they start to itch. An over-the-counter rem­edy is calamine lotion or any­thing that has a cor­ti­sone derivative.

Ewan said avoid­ance is the best remedy.

“If you’re going to go out into the foothills or into the burn area, be care­ful,” he said. “There’s a cute lit­tle flower out there that’s pur­ple and if you touch it, it’s going to get you.”

A great arti­cle about a Poodle-Dog bush encounter.

Related Posts:

Poison-oak: get­ting to know your enemy

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Hi there…

I’m Larry. Wel­come to my blog about hik­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. I hope you enjoy my ram­blings. Please feel free to add your com­ments and I encour­age you to share your hik­ing expe­ri­ences in So Cal with us…

Norma and I are graphic design­ers. If you would like to see our work go to Sketch­Pad.