**Latest Update: Poodle bush is present at the beginning of Section D of the PCT west of Highway 15 in the Cajon Pass area.
The nearly 6ft tall, purple flowered bush native to California known as Poodle-Dog Weed is a beauty. It’s blossoms provide stark and lively contrast against the char black of burned forest. In fact, that’s where it thrives, in areas wrecked by fire or flooding. But this flowering bush is not without thorns. Anything more than a glance with Poodle-dog Weed will produce a painfully itchy and blistered rash that can last up to two weeks.
There’s nothing more irritating than an itch you can’t scratch. Unfortunately, there are no quick remedies for it. Treatment mainly involves hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion and cool compresses for itch relief. Blisters should not be popped and refrain from damaging skin with intense over scratching. Infections can result from ruptured blisters and scratches that become open sores. If any gear or clothing comes in contact with the weed, rinse it generously with water.
Prevention and planning ahead are your biggest friends. Know what Poodle-Dog Bush looks like: tall with long clustered leaves, blue or purple bell-like flowers, and a rather rank smell. Wear long pants and sleeves, and consider carrying an anti-itch cream in your first aid kit. Check if your hike is through any burned forest areas. And when in doubt, treat any suspected plant as guilty until proven otherwise.
For more information about Poodle-Dog Bush visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriodictyon_parryi
Have you seen this plant on the trail? If so, where? Leave us a comment below.
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