Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

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tjtops
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Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:31 pm

Phoenix dactylifera...I think (!)..the palms with the long fronds and lethal sharp spines near the base of the actual fronds......
Are the spines poisonous??? Despite thorough Googling, I can't find an answer! I ask because I was cutting off some low fronds today, and 'stuck' my right hand on the tips of spines several times (no...not deliberately!!)....I cleaned up and put some Dettol on pdq (the 'holes' had been bleeding). No further drama until in the last couple of hours, my whole hand has swollen up and is excruciatingly painful! The other hand, which only had one or two punctures, hasn't!
So, either there's something in the end of the spines which has caused such an extreme reaction....OR.....I suppose I might have sprained my hand in sawing them.....????
Ideas please??
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby Beachcomber » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:37 pm

Getting spiked by one of these vicious things is certainly painful. No matter how careful I am it always seems to happen when I am pruning them. I have never had a reaction as drastic as that, though, but whenever it happens I take an antihistamine tablet just in case. I suggest you do the same and, if it hasn't gone down by tomorrow, that you go to the doctor for a blood test.

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:48 pm

Hmmmmm...thanks Beach. Gosh, that was quick!!
I don't have any antihistamine tabs tho...I took a Nurofen a while ago and at least it's stopped getting worse....but yes, I'll have to take more drastic action if it hasn't gone down tomorrow! There is a chance I might have sprained it tho, cos it sure was tough going...but this defo started in one finger and has spread (the pain and swelling!)....
Like you, I've been spiked before many times, and don't remember this much of a reaction, which is why I was asking....as long as they're not known to be poisonous tho...phew!
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby Beachcomber » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:03 pm

Go to the farmacia and ask for Polaramine. They come in 2mg or 6mg tablets. I always keep them handy because I suffer adverse reactions from wasp stings.

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:55 pm

OK thanks Beach...are they OK for asthmatics???
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby Beachcomber » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:02 am

I'm not sure. Check with the farmacist.

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby wildside » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:41 pm

Hi,

I don't think that the spines on palm species are armed with a poison but they can be, and almost always are, very dirty... They can be covered in bird and rat crap along with the usual long list of infectious bacteria..... If you look cloely at the spines you will see that the ends are very fine and dark... The end very often snaps off in the wound and this can cause infection as well....

If you get a lot of pain then a trip to the doctors is advisable or even the pharmacy as they are pretty knowledgable about this stuff too...

As for the palm species, I would guess it is the Canary Island date palm Pheonix canariensis rather the P dactilifera.... The latter is the proper palm that we get edible dates from. They are less "leafy" and have a slimmer trunk.... Do you get edible dates from yours or are they a bright orange and without much flesh on them?

Hope your hand feels better soon....

PS, I once had a couple of those spines in my leg... They snapped off inside and went quite bad with oozing puss and other strange sludges for some weeks.... An interesting experience :)

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:58 pm

Thanks for that......and taken on board. Actually though ( :oops: :oops: ) I'm coming to the conclusion that I must have sprained it (as well as 'stuck' it, lol)...cos it's still swollen and very painful, but only on trying to move it/fingers.... not on pressure, if you know what I mean. Plus the 'holes' are only very slightly raised, and not looking angry. The ones on the other hand are doing nothing at all!!!
And you're probably right about the specie...it's not an edible date palm.....very green leafy fronds, thickish trunk.
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby country boy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:07 pm

If it has got Fan like leaves, and Barbs on the leaf stalk near the trunk then it is probably Washingtonia; Phoenix Canariensis has wicked Spikes near the trunk not barbs and the leaves are Frond like. The pain can be excruciating from either, but I don't think that I have ever heard that either are poisonous,but you may have been infected by the puncture wound.

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:31 pm

Thanks CB...from your description, it's definitely the latter. And hurts! :cry:
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby country boy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:06 pm

Yes it does....loads of sympathy Image

Try cooling the place with a packet of Frozen Peas wrapped in a tea towel.

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby julian » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:09 pm

a glass of red wine taken internally will have better effects than frozen peas applied externally !!

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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:15 pm

And white wine is even better...... hic. I think it's going down a bit now tho......maybe it's all the positive vibes??? :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:56 pm

Julian's 'medical' treatment definitely works.......can't believe it hurts so much less now, lol!!!
Seriously tho, a sprain wouldn't subside this quickly so maybe there IS something nasty on them there spines......... :shock:
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby janda_grant2 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:12 pm

If you do have broken tips left in your fingers, some magnesium sulphate paste will draw them out - and will also draw any dirt and cr*p out as well.
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Re: Are the spines on palm trees poisonous?

Postby tjtops » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:44 pm

Thanks xxx....
It's all subsided now, but I have to say I haven't had a reaction like that before. The odd thing was that it was so extreme on one hand, and nothing on the other; both 'spiked'. Maybe partly a sprain after all!
Thanks for all your suggestions and advice! :clap:
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