Dangers of the Poisonous Primrose:

Primula obconica is considered to be poisonous because it has leaves that contain a poisonous substance. This organism is harmful when touched or consumed.


Primula obconica
has secretory trichomes present in the foliage that have a skin-irritant benzoquinone derivative, primin. The secretion from this plant is sticky. Primin is a contact allergen. This means that once the granular hairs have been touched, primin can cause a rapid onset of skin irritation. The affected area usually becomes reddened, swollen, and blistered with spotty or linear discolored streaks. If benzoquinone comes in contact with the eyes, it can cause reddening of the cornea and iris. Sometimes this reaction can be deadly, but the chance of this intoxication happening is rare.  When working in a habitat where this species is usually found, it is important to wear gloves as protection. Simply removing dead leaves or working with plants around Primula obconica can cause an individual to come in contact with primin (Burrows and Tyrl, 2001).

Allergen-active benzoquinones is also a 
characteristic in the Orchidaceae family.
 Members of this family include
 Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) and
 Dendrobium officinale  (T'ieh-p'i Shih-hu).

Did you know that some plants of Primula
have been modified so when they are
touched they will not cause itching?
            ex. Touch Me


Figure 1. Structure of Primin
The image is modified from
Toxic Plants of North American.


1. Use an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine drug.
2. Avoid further contact with Primula obconica.

Most dermatologists would recommend the application of a 25% ammonia solution to the area that is being affected within 15 minutes of reaction (Burrow and Tyrl, 2001).

Next, visit the Gallery to see more amazing pictures
and learn interesting facts about the Primrose family.
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