World's deadliest tree can kill you just by standing under it


It has been rumored that even inhaling anywhere near the tree is enough to poison you.

The fruit of this tree looks like a juicy green apple, but beware. Its inviting look is just a facade for the danger it holds. Would you believe that this fruit came from one of the most poisonous trees in the world?

You've heard all sorts of poisonous plants and trees, but nothing could come close to the "tree of death". The manchineel tree, also known for its scientific name of Hippomane mancinella, is notorious for its terrifying toxic properties. The seemingly harmless manchineel tree holds the record as the most dangerous tree in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Record. In Spanish-speaking countries, the tree is also known as "la manzanilla de la muerte", which means “the little apple of death,” or as "arbol de la muerte" which can be translated to “tree of death.”

And they have a very good reason of naming it so. Any contact upon the tree's branches, leaves or bark--any at all, even for a short period of time--can cause severe burn-like blisters to the area exposed. Not to mention its sap, which can be found throughout the tree's branches and leaves. The sap contains a wide range of toxins including phorbol, an organic compound usually present in diterpene family of esters.

Since phorbol is highly water-soluble, this means that when it rains, the last thing you want to seek cover under is the manchineel tree. The raindrops carrying the diluted sap is toxic enough to severely burn your skin. Because of the poison it holds, the aboriginal peoples of the Carribean uses the sap to tip their arrows.
It has even been rumored that inhaling anywhere near a machineel tree is enough to contract poison. There have also been reports of eye inflammation and in some cases, even temporary blindness just from the exposure of manchineel wood burning. Because of this, people have start marking the tree with red paint and also putting up warning signs to inform tourists and locals about the tree.

But all of the manchineel's terrifying properties don't even come close to its fruit, which is probably the deadliest among its parts. The toxic body and sap are nothing next to the sweet-smelling green fruit, also known as the "death apple".

Ella Davies, writer of BBC, wrote:

"The real death threat comes from eating its small round fruit. Ingesting the fruit can prove fatal when severe vomiting and diarrhoea dehydrate the body to the point of no return."

In 1999, Nicola Strickland and her friend luckily survived after ingesting a small bite of the death apple. In her written paper, Strickland described the excruciating pain which they endured for almost 8 hours straight.

"I rashly took a bite from this fruit and found it pleasantly sweet. My friend also partook (at my suggestion). Moments later we noticed a strange peppery feeling in our mouths, which gradually progressed to a burning, tearing sensation and tightness of the throat. The symptoms worsened over a couple of hours until we could barely swallow solid food because of the excruciating pain and the feeling of a huge obstructing pharyngeal lump. Sadly, the pain was exacerbated by most alcoholic beverages, although mildly appeased by pina coladas, but more so by milk alone.

Over the next eight hours our oral symptoms slowly began to subside, but our cervical lymph nodes became very tender and easily palpable. Recounting our experience to the locals elicited frank horror and incredulity, such was the fruit's poisonous reputation. We found our experience frightening."

You may be thinking, as so many people do, "If it's so lethal, why not just uproot the tree?" Uprooting or cutting down the manchineel trees would be an easy solution, however, it plays a valuable role in the ecosystem. According to, the manchineel tree is a large shrub which grows into dense thickets that provides protection from coastal erosion.

It can be found on tropical parts of southern North America, Central America, the Caribbean, as well as parts of northern South America. The manchineel tree mostly grows by the beach.




XOLXOL: World's deadliest tree can kill you just by standing under it
World's deadliest tree can kill you just by standing under it
It has been rumored that even inhaling anywhere near the tree is enough to poison you.
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