Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail

Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail

Poodle Dog Bush is a real concern for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Afterall, it can pose a serious threat and hikers are sure to encounter the plant at least once on their journey. Thankfully, I have never had any negative experiences with the bush but I have come across several thruhikers who were not so lucky.

In case you might be asking yourself, poodle dog bush is a mountain shrub in California. Unforutnately, this colorful plant secretes a skin irritant which makes it a threat when hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. For this reason, you should avoid contact with Poodle Dog Bush and know how to identify this

What Does Poodle Dog Bush Look Like?

Poodle dog Bush in California

Poodle Dog Bush is a tall shrub with purple flowers. However, you need to be paying attention to spot the plant which is often identified by a rather pungent smell.

What Harm Can Poodle Dog Bush?

Poodle Dog Bush is a form of dermatitis which is sometimes compared to poison oak. Most affected hikers claim to have received a rash of some kind from the plant. At the same time, it can have much greater consequences with blisters and even respiratory distress reported on occasion. Symptoms of the above can appear within hours or days of making contact with the plant.

Where is Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail?

Although Poodle Dog Bush is most common in the San Gabriel Mountains in California, you will also find it elsewhere.

PS. Contrary to what some hikers believe, the Poodle dog plant is not also known as the Poodle Brush Plant.

What to Do When You Come Across the Plant

As you might have guessed, long sleeves and long pants can reduce exposure to the bush. Try to move around the bush whenever possible and wear long pants/sleeves. However, if you touch this clothing after it comes in contact with the plant, you can also contaminate yourself.

How Can You Treat Skin Rash or Blisters?

Blisters should never be popped and you try to resist any scratching of the affected area. Hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion can give relief for the itchiness you might be experiencing. Unfortunately, the healing process can take some time. You should also rinse any clothing which came into contact with the Poodle Dog Bush.


Have you any experience with irritations or encounters with the plant? I would love to hear about it – please let me know in the comments!

Published by

Derek Cullen

Derek Cullen is an Irish Adventurer and the author of Microadventureworld. He is best known for taking long distance adventures around the world such as cycling across Africa and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in America. In recent years, Derek was nominated for People of the Year by Outsider Magazine and has featured on popular media channels including the Irish Times, Today FM, RTE and Africa Geographic.

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