St. John USVI Flora: Christmas Bush (Comocladia dodonaea)
The Christmas Bush (Comocladia dodonaea) is also known as Poison Ash and
is a relative of Poison Ivy. It has small, overlapping, spiny leaves that
turn red with age. This mix of small red and green leaves, has probably
led to its local name, Christmas Bush.
Christmas Bush is a native plant found in South America and the Caribbean.
The active chemical irritant is called urushiol, which is also found in
poison Iivy, poison oak, poison sumac, cashew nut shells and in extremely
small amounts in mangos.