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Aspilia - Blumea

(Daisy or Sunflower family)


Aspilia latifolia Oliver & Hiern
Haemorrhage Plant

The plant is used in Nigeria as a haemostatic, and is thought to have vaso-constrictor activity (Oliver 1959).

Aster L.
Michaelmas Daisy

This genus is classified in the tribe Astereae. It comprises some 500 species which are to be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Several Aster species and cultivars are widely grown for ornamental purposes.

Dorsey (1962) and Hjorth (1965) referred to contact dermatitis from asters but provided no detail. Hausen (1979) observed two patients with chrysanthemum allergy who reacted strongly (3+) to an aster extract. Many other similarly sensitised patients failed to react. Hausen & Osmundsen (1983) observed a positive patch test reaction to an aster in a 63 year old hobby gardener who was sensitised to feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium Sch.Bip.). Frain-Bell & Johnson (1979) observed positive patch test reactions to an unidentified Aster species in 3 from 55 patients with the photosensitivity dermatitis and actinic reticuloid syndrome. It should be noted that China asters are, botanically, Callistephus chinensis (L.) Nees, and therefore, reports of contact dermatitis from colloquially named asters should be interpreted with caution.

Lewis & Elvin-Lewis (1977) record that many species of Aster are poisonous on ingestion because of their content of sesquiterpene lactones.

Aster exilis Elliot


Aster multiflorus Dryander

These species have been implicated as infrequent sensitisers in "weed dermatitis" (Shelmire 1940).

Aster subulatus Michx.
[syn. Erigeron linifolius Bert. ex DC.]
Bushy Starwort, Salt Marsh Aster, Cobbler's Pegs

Gardner & Bennetts (1956) list Erigeron linifolius DC. as a plant known or suspected of causing urticaria or skin irritation, probably from Maiden (1909b) who refers to a case of dermatitis caused by E. linifolius DC. for which the common name "cobblers' pegs" was provided. Maiden (1917) later notes that Aster subulatus Michx. appears not to possess any injurious property.

Confusingly, the common name "cobblers' pegs" is more usually applied to Bidens pilosa L. There is the further possibility of confusion with E. linifolius Willd., a synonym of Conyza bonariensis Cronq., for which the common name "bastard cobblers' pegs" is provided by Maiden (1895).

Aster venustus M.E.Jones
Woody Aster

The woody aster is capable of accumulating selenium from soils rich in this element. It belongs to the class of "secondary selenium accumulators", members of which can store between 25 and 100 ppm of the dry weight of selenium (Harr 1978, Brooks 1979). Ingestion of excess selenium, particularly by grazing animals, can cause selenosis which leads to loss of hair, nails, and teeth, epidermal malformations, chronic dermatitis, lassitude, and progressive paralysis (Harr 1978). Certain Oönopsis Greene and Machaeranthera Nees species also accumulate selenium (Rosenfeld & Beath 1964).

Athanasia coronopifolia Harv.

11,13-Dehydromatricarin, a potentially allergenic guaianolide, has been reported from this species.

Athanasia minuta Källersjö subsp. minuta
[syns Asaemia axillaris Harv. ex Hoffm., Asaemia minuta K.Bremer, Pteronia minuta L.f., Tanacetum axillare Thunb.]
Vuursiektebos, Vuursiekte Bush

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Atractylis gummifera L.

According to Merzouki et al. (2000), the powdered root is used in NW Moroccan traditional medicine (where the plant is known locally as addad) as an external application in the treatment of skin abscesses and warts.

Atractylodes lancea DC.
[syns Acarna chinensis Bunge, Atractylis chinensis DC., Atractylis lancea Thunb., Atractylodes chinensis Koidz.]

An extract of Atractylodes lancea rhizomes was found to have phototoxic activity against three test micro-organisms; a similar extract of Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz. was active against only one of the micro-organisms (Wat et al. 1980b).

[Further information available but not yet included in database]

Barnadesia Mutis

According to Mabberley (2017), the genus comprises 19 species of often thorny trees and shrubs found in South America, and in particular in the tropical Andes. They are occasionally grown elsewhere as greenhouse ornamentals for their showy flowers.

The genus has recently been re-classified in a new sub-family, namely the Barnadesioideae, which is characterised in part by the presence of axillary spines of a type unique in the family (Bremer & Jansen 1992). The spines are able to inflict mechanical injury. The following species are representative:

Barnadesia arborea Kunth
[syns Barnadesia media D.Don, Barnadesia vestita Benoist, Diacantha arborea Less.]
Barnadesia dombeyana Less.
[syns Bacasia spinosa Ruiz & Pav., Barnadesia lanceolata D.Don, Chuquiraga spinosa D.Don]
Barnadesia horrida Muschler
[syn. Chuquiraga seleriana Muschler]
Barnadesia parviflora Spruce ex Benth. & Hook.f.
[syn. Barnadesia trianae Hieron.]
Barnadesia spinosa L.f. 

Bellis perennis L.

This common weed of lawns and meadows, cultivars of which are also grown as ornamental plants in herbaceous borders, is an occasional cause of pollinosis (Wodehouse 1971). A landscape gardener suffered solar urticaria, rhinitis from daisy pollen, and dichromate sensitivity (Wilkinson et al. 1980).

Hausen (1979) observed four patients with positive patch test reactions (1+ & 2+) to an extract of daisy in 16 tested, most of whom gave strongly positive (3+ & 4+) reactions to Chrysanthemum indicum L. Hausen (1979) also reported that the plant has a moderate sensitising capacity in guinea pigs.

Berkheya Ehrh.

This genus comprises some 90 species of thistle-like herbs and shrubs which are found in Africa.

α-Terthienyl, a phototoxic thiophene (see Tagetes L. below), has been reported from the following species (Bohlmann et al. 1973, Gommers & Voor in't Holt 1976, Bohlmann et al. 1977a, Bohlmann et al. 1979a):

Berkheya adlami Hook.
Berkheya barbata Hutch.
[syn. Gorteria barbata L.f.]
Berkheya cirsiifolia Roessler
[syn. Stobaea cirsiifolia DC.]
Berkheya echinacea Burtt Davy
[syn. Stobaea echinacea Harvey]
Berkheya fruticosa Ehrh.
Berkheya heterophylla O.Hoffm.
[syn. Stobaea heterophylla Thunb.]
Berkheya macrocephala J.M.Wood
Berkheya maritima J.M.Wood
Berkheya onopordifolia Burtt Davy
[syn. Stobaea onopordifolia DC.]
Berkheya pannosa Hilliard
Berkheya pinnatifida Thell.
[syn. Stobaea pinnatifida Thunb.]
Berkheya radula Burtt Davy
[syns Berkheya radula Hubb., Stobaea radula Harvey]
Berkheya rhapontica Hutch. & Burtt Davy subsp. aristosa
[syn. Stobaea aristosa DC.]
Berkheya rhapontica Hutch. & Burtt Davy subsp. platypera
[syns Stobaea platyptera Harvey, Berkheya platyptera O.Hoffm.]
Berkheya rhapontica Hutch. & Burtt Davy subsp. rhapontica
[syn. Stobaea rhapontica DC.]
Berkheya robusta Bohnen
Berkheya setifera DC.
Berkheya umbellata DC. 

Berkheya speciosa O.Hoffm.
[syns Crocodilodes speciosum Kuntze, Stobaea speciosa DC.]
Leopard's Bane, Showy Thistle, Thistle-Flower

α-Terthienyl, a phototoxic thiophene (see Tagetes L. below), has been reported from the roots of this species (Bohlmann et al. 1979a).

[Further information available but not yet included in database]

Berkheya subulata Harvey
[syn. Crocodilodes subulatum Kuntze]

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Bidens L.

This genus is classified in the tribe Heliantheae. It comprises some 230 species of cosmopolitan distribution. Several species are known in horticulture as bur-marigold or stick-tight. Barbed bristles are present on the fruits and can cause mechanical injury (Muenscher 1951). The barbs on the fruits of Bidens species have caused dermatitis in South Africa (Scott 1967).

Bidens bipinnata L.


Bidens frondosa L.

Irritancy has been ascribed to B. bipinnata (Pammel 1911) and B. frondosa (MacDougal 1894, Coulter 1904). Handling B. frondosa caused itching (White 1887).

Bidens parviflora Willd.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the juice is expressed from the plant and applied externally to spider bites, scorpion stings, and unhealthy granulations of wounds (Stuart 1911).

Bidens pilosa L.
Beggar's Ticks, Spanish Needles, Poor Man's Friend, Cobbler's Pegs, Blackjack

The barbed fruits can adhere to clothing or to the hair of animals (Maiden 1895, Morton 1962b). Pammel (1911) regarded this plant as a local irritant.

The plant yields phenylheptatriyne which shows ultra-violet mediated membrane disrupting activity on human red blood cells (Wat et al. 1980a) and erythrocytes (MacRae et al. 1980b). The compound is phototoxic to bacteria, fungi, and human fibroblasts cells in culture (Wat et al. 1979), but not to T4BOr' bacteriophage (Warren et al. 1980) nor to human skin (Towers et al. 1979). Despite its phototoxicity, phenylheptatriyne did not induce sister chromatid exchanges nor chromosome aberrations in Syrian hamster BHK-21 cells (MacRae et al. 1980a). This evidence suggests an effect on membranes rather than on DNA.

The plant is eaten (Morton 1962b).

Bidens tripartita L.

According to Stuart (1911), a decoction of the plant is used in Chinese traditional medicine as a wash to the skin in the treatment of chronic eczema. He also stated that the plant yields a black dye which is used for colouring the whiskers.

Blumea balsamifera DC.

An extract of the plant exhibited weak phototoxic activity against one of three test micro-organisms (Wat et al. 1980b).

Ai or ngai camphor is derived from this species.

Blumea gariepina DC.

It has been reported from South-West Africa that touching this plant has produced urticaria, but this appears to be an isolated instance (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962).

Richard J. Schmidt

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