There’s a new plant covering the hills and trails above La Cañada Flintridge with fields of gorgeous lavender flowers that have sprouted up in the void left by the 2009 Station fire. But be careful to look, not touch, because this plant, the Poodle Dog Bush, can cause an itchy, burning rash much like poison oak.
Bart O’Brien, director of Special Projects at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, said that the Poodle Dog Bush, Eriodictyon Parryi (also known as Turricula Parryi) tends to grow in abundance after a major fire or other event that disturbs the soil.
“It’s actually one of our more spectacular California native plants. And it’s one that you typically see a couple of years after a big fire and since the fires were in 2009 it make sense that this year and next year will probably be the biggest,” said O’Brien. “They’re spectacular plants and they’re beautiful but it is something that many many people are allergic to.”