Has anyone gotten skin rashes from certain salvias?
I have not personally but I am sure that is possible.
The other option is a allergy to the fungicides used
on some Salvias.I have talked to people with reactions to fungicides more frequently than the plants themselves. I get a mild case of hives with Lantana and Junipers. I wash the oils off and the hives go away. But again some people
have different reactions to different things.So as Salvias get put in the garden more.Up goes the chance of allergies
being a problem.
Thanks Art for the heads up on the other plants. I'm pretty sure it was my Salvia Scabra I was cleaning some dead leaves from. I am sensitive to Echinacea & Verbena but don't get hives. I put on some Benadryl gel and it settled it down. Won't do that again.
Most likely mechanical irritation.
Never knowingly had any allergic reactions to any Salvias or Sages. But, do take care whenever you collect seeds from Salvia carduacea, as the small thorns are very nasty, and can have a similar effect on your fingers as when treading accidentally on a sea-urchin!
It's an excellent question, for which, alas, I have no answer. I've collected seeds from wild S. carduacea with no problem. But they are very prickly, and I can see how little bits could cause prolonged irritation. Recently I've had odd, unexplained allergic reactions to something in the native plant community, and I've wondered if I'm allergic to the sap of the S. clevelandii I've been propagating. It's not the leaves that cause the problem, but I pruned off the central stems, and it was around then that the mysterious rashes started. That process is over, and the rashes have subsided. It's just a hypothesis. Several decades ago, long before I even knew of the existence of Salvia clevelandii, I suffered strong reactions to something in the chaparral that caused swelling, inflamation and flaking skin around my eyes. It wasn't poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), to which I'm certainly allergic, but with different symptoms.
This isn't an allergy warning, but a heads up on cleaning seed, especially if there is a lot of chaff. One way to get rid of light weight chaff (and fungus spores) is to swirl the seed in a bowl while blowing lightly in it. The heavier seed gravitates to the center and bottom, and the lighter chaff to the edge and top. If you are not wearing a good set of goggles, you can blow chaff onto your corneas and scratch them pretty badly. Some species are particularly nasty that way.
It is best to use a set of screens to remove as much stray material as possible. If necessary, the blowing and swirling should be a finishing procedure, done in small lots with great care.