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Fig Tree Burns

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nurseawful



Joined: 06/02/2009
Posts: 5934

Message Posted:
16/08/2009 11:49

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Message 1 of 17 in Discussion

About a month ago my hubby was trimming a fig tree that appeared from nowhere in the middle of the bouganvillae. A couple of days later I noticed these red welts on his arm back and stomach. They gradually got worse very red and swollen. I started to think that it was a blood related disorder he had as I had never seen anything like this before.

However a friend told us that the sap from the fig tree is very acidic and burns!! Sure enough the welts dried out and started to peel. The marks are still very visible and may leave permanent scars, only time will tell.



So If cutting down or trimming a fig tree make sure you wear gloves and long sleeved shirt then shower immediately afterwards. Also a good idea to wear eye protection.

Chris



Smiffies


Joined: 19/05/2009
Posts: 234

Message Posted:
16/08/2009 12:57

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Message 2 of 17 in Discussion

Hi Christina

This condition is known as "ficin dermatitis" Ė it relates to psoralens in the fig sap The psoralens are a family of chemicals made by many plants, but most prevalent in (and named after) the genus Psoralea, which is found in root vegetables such as celery, carrots, parsnips and turnips. These plants, including some exotic fruit trees, produce psoralens as a natural pest defence, since it can stop some infections to the vegetable, tree and fruit in their tracks and is also deadly to almost all insects.

Psoralens are substances that are activated by sunlight and are known to cause dermatitis reactions. Most probably, he is sensitive to the fig sap, and other people would not have the same reaction. But apparently, it can happen to anyone who is in the right situation and is sensitive to the effects.

I fully agree with your comments and would suggest the following methods to overcome the situation:

Use protective clothing when pruning fig trees, and if the sap may spl



Smiffies


Joined: 19/05/2009
Posts: 234

Message Posted:
16/08/2009 12:58

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Message 3 of 17 in Discussion

Continued:



I fully agree with your comments and would suggest the following methods to overcome the situation:

Use protective clothing when pruning fig trees, and if the sap may splash protect the eyes too.

Treat exposed or contaminated skin surfaces with clean running water

Wash your hands thoroughly after pinching fig shoots for eating or cooking

Never cut down a fig tree if you can help it.

People have safely eaten figs for thousands of years, so I donít think that the figs themselves are a problem.

Take the correct precautions and be safe.

Best regards

Steve



Vidal


Joined: 14/05/2009
Posts: 867

Message Posted:
16/08/2009 13:31

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Message 4 of 17 in Discussion

My Cypriot friends have buckets of water around when they are even just picking the figs as the acid leaks from the point where the fig joins the tree.













Good post..had forgotten about that.



Pootle


Joined: 09/06/2009
Posts: 55

Message Posted:
17/08/2009 09:09

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Message 5 of 17 in Discussion

My Husband had the same thing happen to him recently.He cut down a fig tree and within a few days he was covered in these red sores....not very nice at all!!

They started on just his torso, but quickly spread to all areas of his body(except his face thankfully)

We didnt realise at first what it could be, but on reading something about fig trees on the internet, we quickly realised that it was indeed the dreaded fig sap!!

This stuff is vicious!! It has left my husband with scars proberly for life......

So please another word of warning to those who are thinking about cutting one down, my advise would be dont!!!!

Although if you have to apparently cut them in the winter time when the sap has dried up, you still must be very very careful, but its apparently not so dangerous at this time?



scoobydoo


Joined: 10/11/2008
Posts: 2434

Message Posted:
17/08/2009 09:27

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Message 6 of 17 in Discussion

Excellent post, thank you.



surfcitygal


Joined: 07/09/2009
Posts: 1

Message Posted:
07/09/2009 22:48

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Message 7 of 17 in Discussion

Its funny how such a tasty fruit has sap that burns! I was just outside picking figs. Got so fig milk(sap) on my arms. I have noticed before that it causes a burning affect on my skin. I just get the garden hose and run the cold water over the areas and rub on them for a few minutes with the water. Seems to do the trick. I have never gotten welts. Happy fig eating everyone!



Brinsley


Joined: 04/04/2009
Posts: 6858

Message Posted:
07/09/2009 23:00

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Message 8 of 17 in Discussion

So what's the story about males using the leaves as part of their attire? No wonder poor Adam reverted to eating apples!



Richard



spook


Joined: 23/01/2008
Posts: 244

Message Posted:
07/09/2009 23:41

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Message 9 of 17 in Discussion

Dont pick fruit or do any pruning when the sun is up, get out early or late evening and avoid skin contact with the leaves.



nurseawful



Joined: 06/02/2009
Posts: 5934

Message Posted:
23/02/2010 06:58

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Message 10 of 17 in Discussion

Time to cut down those trees again so I am bringing this back to the top to make all aware of the dangers!



Chris



Groucho



Joined: 26/04/2008
Posts: 7993

Message Posted:
23/02/2010 08:21

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Message 11 of 17 in Discussion

It's the sap you must avoid.



The leaves should have all dropped by now. If not the tree's not quite ready.



If you do get sap on your skin avoid sunlight until you've washed it off with copious amounts of water and soap...



JohnBey


Joined: 05/04/2009
Posts: 46

Message Posted:
23/02/2010 08:48

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Message 12 of 17 in Discussion

Posts like this one are what a forum is all about....just wish there were more like this on Cyprus 44.



nurseawful



Joined: 06/02/2009
Posts: 5934

Message Posted:
23/02/2010 08:51

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Message 13 of 17 in Discussion

JohnBey,



There are loads of posts like this one. You just have to look for them or ask the questions.



Chris



nurseawful



Joined: 06/02/2009
Posts: 5934

Message Posted:
23/02/2010 16:00

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Message 14 of 17 in Discussion

Forgot to add try and keep the area clean and dry and moisturised. If any blisters do not burst as they will do so when they are ready themselves, this way it will hopefully stop any scarring. the bad news is these take weeks to heal so be patient.



Chris



seastar


Joined: 19/02/2008
Posts: 13

Message Posted:
23/02/2010 22:31

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Message 15 of 17 in Discussion

Hi

Thanks for the info on the sap, can anyone please advise as to the best way you look after a fig tree, do they need pruning, feeding or do you just leave them alone to grow.



daisy dukes


Joined: 06/09/2008
Posts: 3815

Message Posted:
24/02/2010 00:46

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Message 16 of 17 in Discussion

I had a wonderful fig tree growing outside my front gate, but every so often the belediyesi came along and chopped it down. I was very upset about this, and so i asked them to leave it alone, but after much gesticulating and 'Give Us A Clue' i realised they were telling me it was dangerous to the skin...took about 3 hours to get across, (only because i was convinced they were saying figs were poisonous!)



Anyway...good to know what the fuss was about! Thanks Chris, much appreciated!





DD



Whistler


Joined: 28/07/2008
Posts: 1332

Message Posted:
24/02/2010 09:28

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Message 17 of 17 in Discussion

Can you have problems when clearing up the leaves? I was doing this a couple of weeks ago, then went in for lunch and while I was eating got a weird sensation in my jaw, which then became swollen and I also had a lump behind my ear. It didn`t last long about 1 hour. Any ideas - no rude comments please!!!!!!! As if.



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