RFI: Caterpillar & Gympie-Gympie

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Fri Jun 25 04:14:30 EDT 1999

We encountered this plant also in our visit to Cairns. It looked 
innocuous enough. I think we were given the name "Poisonwood". When I 
looked into it, the active ingredient or toxin had not been 
characterized.  We were told that even after the pain had resolved it 
would be reactivated whenever the area of skin got wet, and this painful 
sensitivity would last for months.  And it was described as a burning 
pain  not an itch (probably more like Nettles than like Poison Ivy). I 
wasn't told about the caterpillar which makes the story much more 
interesting in the light of nettle-feeding caterpillars.  

Mike Gochfeld

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