The manchineel tree contains a lethal poison & is known as the world’s most dangerous plant.
The manchineel tree is so poisonous, you don’t even have to touch it to die. Pay attention, we’ll show you how to survive.
What is it?
The manchineel, or Hippomane mancinella, is a tree reaching up to 15 m in height with grey bark, shiny green leaves, and spikes of small greenish flowers. The green fruits produced resemble that of an apple. It holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s most dangerous tree.
Where are they located?
The manchineel is native to the Florida Everglades as well as Central America and the Caribbean.
How will it kill you?
Just being in close proximity of the manchineel can have devastating effects on your health. Standing beneath the tree during rain will cause your skin to blister. Also, the smoke from a burning manchineel may cause blindness if it hits your eyes. Its sap contains a number of skin irritants that produce strong allergic dermatitis. In addition, eating its fruit will leave blisters & burns in your mouth and will cause your throat to swell & tighten up, making it difficult to swallow or breathe. The raw, soft tissues of your digestive tract will also begin to swell and blister. The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean & the Americas would not only poison their arrows with manchineel sap, but they would also tie their captives to the trunk of the tree in order to ensure a slow and painful death.
How to survive:
Burns & blisters due to skin exposure can be taken care of by simply rinsing with soap & water in order to remove the plant latex. But if you’ve consumed the manchineel fruit, you must see a doctor right way so you can be treated for the problems it can cause in your mouth, digestive tract, & internal tissues. If a doctor is unavailable, antihistamines can be used to minimize the immune response and the edema.
So which Spanish conquistador was killed by an arrow poisoned with the sap of a manchineel tree?
In 1521, Juan Ponce de Leon was struck in the thigh by a poisoned arrow during battle with the Calusa tribe in Florida and died shortly thereafter.
So would you rather…be poisoned by a manchineel tree? Or get stung by a sea wasp?