Wigandia caracasana, the Caracus wigandia, is a species of ornamental plant. It is an evergreen that grows to a height of up to 3 metres (10 ft). It has purple flowers in large clusters from spring to autumn. Some sources treat it as a variety of the species Wigandia urens. Native to Central America, it is thought to be naturalized in southern California as a garden escape. It is commonly grown in gardens, and thrives best in a mixture of loam and peat. Cuttings in sand will strike if placed under glass and in heat.
The caracus wigandia can cause severe contact dermatitis. A substance that it secretes, 2,3-dimethoxy-geranyl- 1,4-benzoquinone (consisting of a quinonoid ring with a 10 or 11 carbon-membered side chain) is a remarkably strong sensitizer, which is found nowhere else in the plant kingdom. It has been described as approximating an "ideal allergen".
- Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- Anderson, NP; Ayres, S. "DERMATITIS VENENATA DUE TO WIGANDIA CARACASANA: A HITHERTO UNRECOGNIZED CAUSE: REPORT OF CASE". Cal West Med. 34: 278–9. PMC . PMID 18741724.
- Hausen, B. M.; Heitsch, H.; Borrmann, B.; Koch, D.; Rathmann, R.; Richter, B.; Konig, W. A. (1995). "Structure-activity-relationships in allergic contact-dermatitis: 1. Studies on the influence of side-chain length with derivatives of primin". Contact Dermatitis. 33: 12–16. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0536.1995.tb00440.x.
- Brickell, Christopher (1996). Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers. Colour Library Books. ISBN 1-85833-472-1.
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