Arizona’s desert scorpion weed flower can cause itching, rash

Kyra O’Connor
4 Min Read

This desert wildflower may look pretty, but its leaves can cause allergic reactions severe as anaphylactic shock for some.

PHOENIX — Rainy winters bring spring wildflower blooms. And a plant that, if you touch it, will hurt. A lot.

Meet scorpion weed, the most Arizona of desert plants. Less scenic than a saguaro but it’ll hurt you if you get too close. 

You’ll get a rash. You’ll get itches. Probably some burning.

You will curse the desert. You will wonder why it was created.

But the wildflowers are pretty.

Scorpion weed is not native, said Kevin Erdman, a master gardener at Berridge Nursery in Phoenix.

The stems and seed pods of the flower are covered in numerous hairs, which contain oil that irritates the skin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The resulting rash is similar to the effects of poison oak or poison ivy.

The rash from the oil usually lasts several days and can stick around for more than a week, and if you give in to the urge to scratch, that will only spread the oil, exacerbating the irritation. Some people may even go into anaphylactic shock, according to a warning posted on the Lake Havasu website.

The plant has a strong, onion-like smell, according to the National Park Service, yet another warning to stay away.  

RELATED: This purple wildflower acts like poison ivy

If you come in contact with scorpion weed, you should immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water and wash your clothes, as the oil can stick to clothing too, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

The oil can also stick to other surfaces, like leashes or a pet’s fur, so be sure to give your pets a warm soapy bath as well if you come across scorpion weed during a walk. 

To relieve the itching, the AAD recommends calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream and applying cool compresses to the rash.

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Posted by La Paz County Health Department on Thursday, March 21, 2024

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Kyra O’Connor ,
KPNX Vivrr Local Feed: weather , 2024-03-22 22:01:50
Categories: outdoors,valley,news,local,sports,weather,home

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