Re: [gardeners] Re: winter in a Calif. garden

Kay Lancaster (
Thu, 17 Jan 2002 23:34:08 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 18 Jan 2002, penny x stamm wrote:

> Kay, I did taste a leaf of ornamental oregano last August, and
> developed a miserable swollen mouth for over a week...  I
> hope I learned a lesson there ....

What I was particularly worried about was if it were a member of the
Umbelliferae (Apiaceae), the carrot and parsley family... there are 
some members that are quite toxic in relatively small amounts, and 
some that have potent UV sensitizers, so that you get a bit of sap
on your skin, and you can get (literally) a second degree burn
in a few minutes outdoors at that spot.

Most of the mints, like oregano, are relatively harmless, but they can 
be major irritants even in small doses, and cause skin irruptions in
sensitized people.  Pennyroyal (which is one of the most toxic mints)
will give me blisters if I handle it for more than a few seconds, but
it seems to be an allergic reaction for me.