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Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

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Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby BobD3 » Tue May 06, 2014 3:14 pm

Just wanted to alert others about this relatively unknown plant with the beautiful purple flower stalks, similar to lupine, that's currently in heavy bloom in the Station fire vicinity.
I was exposed to it last week while climbing Mt. Emma. and learned the hard way while photographing the flower.
Symptoms are similar to poison oak. Very intense itching, blistering. 2 days after exposure my left eye had swollen shut. It took oral steroids to finally calm it down. Poison oak remedies, cortisone creams, etc., don't work. Personally, I would rate the it worse than poison oak. It actually produced blisters beneath the callous of my thumb and hand. Never saw poison oak do that. From what I've learned, the active agent in this plant is a form of benzoic acid, not an oil, like poison oak. Symptoms can last 2-4 weeks although mine subsided in a week because of the steroids. There really hasn't been much research on remedies. A few facts- This plant is a fire follower. It remains beneath the soil and dormant until a disturbance to the soil, such as a fire, initiates the growth cycle. Symptoms take about 2 days to develop after initial exposure. It can also compromise the respiratory system if the hairs on the flower become airborne on a breezy day.
There's a little bit of beta about it on the internet, but not much.
Learn about it, avoid contact with it. It's absolutely miserable. Also, keep in mind that most doctors have no knowledge of this particular plant. Most have never heard of it.
If you are exposed, don't screw around like I did blindly searching out remedies that produced zero results. Get on low dose steroids if you can. 20 mg prednisone, taken orally twice a day worked for me. The relief showed up in 24-48 hours.
CORRECTION/UPDATE- Picture shown below was mistaken for poodledog because of the similarity of the flower but is not. Scroll down for correct images of Poodle Dog Bush.
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Last edited by BobD3 on Tue May 06, 2014 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby Bob Burd » Tue May 06, 2014 4:13 pm

I haven't had the displeasure to experience this one myself, but it was pointed out to me by a SoCal native several years ago as something to avoid. I believe the picture you've included is NOT poodle dog bush, however. I think it's more like this:
Image

more images from google
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby BobD3 » Tue May 06, 2014 4:32 pm

Bob,
I've seen a similar picture to yours.
And it does seem different than mine.
Might be what it looks like before the flower stalk shoots up? A different phase in the growth cycle? Don't know.
I do know that the plant produces a flower very similar to the picture I put up. Also, Mt. Emma, as you may know, was burned some years back, so it would be in it's natural environment.
Still learning more about this one.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby Bob Burd » Tue May 06, 2014 5:12 pm

The picture I posted was from later in the season after it has bloomed. The link I provided shows a whole host of pictures in various stages including bloom, and they have similar leaves. I think your picture may be a variety of lupine.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby BobD3 » Tue May 06, 2014 5:37 pm

Bob's picture is the correct one.

Turns out my exposure to this plant resulted from a climb up to Mt. Deception/Mt. Disappointment a week prior to Mt. Emma.
I believe this picture shows the correct image, minus the flower, scattered low in the foreground.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby BobD3 » Tue May 06, 2014 5:39 pm

One more picture.

Nice call Bob.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby johnm » Tue May 06, 2014 5:53 pm

Image
Reactions vary. I was once forced through a field like this on Brown mountain a few years back and expected the worst. I fortunately didn't suffer too much. However contact should be avoided at all costs reactions generally are like poison oak. My experience is that the bush grows 3 to 5 feet with branches extending blooms.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby Marcsoltan » Tue May 06, 2014 6:42 pm

Image

How about these blue flowers in this photo? Are these Poodledog flowers?
They appeared right after the forest fires of 2009 in the hills of Santa Ynez
mountains of Souther California. Someone from the LA area warned me about them.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby fatdad » Tue May 06, 2014 9:43 pm

That crap is everywhere after the Station Fire. I take my kids camping to Chilao at least once a year and I have to remind them to steer well clear of it. It completely surrounds the Charlton Flats/Chilao area.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby BobD3 » Wed May 07, 2014 3:56 am

jesu, joy of man's desiring wrote:vvvv the totally harmless superstar of Angeles Forest wildflowers--Humboldt Lily

Image

Humboldt grows down in the shady, wet canyons like Millard Canyon; it's worth photographing




it looks like Poodledog Bush favors the hot, sunny slopes


-

I think you're right about the hot open slopes. I've read that it begins to die back once the natural growth returns, and has a life cycle of 5-10 years, depending on rainfall. A friend of mine who did the PCT in 2011 said that he had to detour around this stuff, 8 miles or so. Some say as many as 20 miles of the PCT (Station fire vicinity) are heavily laden with this plant at present.
Thanks for the great close up of the flower, both of them.
That Humboldt Lily image- really nice.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby LionIndex » Wed May 07, 2014 4:23 am

After the Cedar and Witch Creek fires we had (what I think were) some poodle dogs growing up in the Cuyamacas east of San Diego, and even without touching them, they're pretty gross. I could smell them from 20' away, and it was just noxious, and that was without flowers. I don't think I could make it through a field like the picture johnm posted.
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby Marcsoltan » Wed May 07, 2014 5:57 am

Image


These look like some of the photos in Bob Burd's link. Can anyone tell me if they are Poodledogs!
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Re: Toxic Poodledog bush in San Gabriel Mtns.

Postby LionIndex » Wed May 07, 2014 6:57 am

Those aren't. Check the differences in the leaves between the photo Bob posted and yours - poodledogs have clusters of fuzzy pointed leaves, like a brown stalk with a green pom-pom on the end.
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