Suicide Tree Facts

This fatal tree–with its deadly fruits–can be used as a murder weapon. It’s called the suicide tree, or pong pong tree, and here’s what you need to know to survive.

What is it?

The suicide tree, or Cerbera odollam, is a tree that closely resembles the oleander plant. It bears white flowers and fruits that look similar to small mangos when still green. The kernels of the tree contain a potent alkaloid toxin called cerberin, which is used by some people to commit suicide or murder others as the taste can be masked with strong spices and is difficult to detect in autopsies. Another common name for the plant is the pong pong tree.

Where is it located?

The suicide tree is native to India and other parts of Southern Asia. They’re abundant in coastal salt swamps and marshy areas, although they’re also known to grow as a hedge between housing compounds.

How will it kill you?

Cerberin–the primary toxic component of the suicide tree–is mainly found in the tree’s kernels. When it enters your system, the toxin blocks the calcium ion channels in the heart muscle, causing a fatal disruption of the heartbeat. Because of this, pathologists cannot identify Cerbera poisoning in an autopsy unless there is certain evidence that the poisoned victim actually ingested the suicide tree’s seeds. According to scientist Yvan Gaillard, this is a recipe for the “perfect murder.”

How to survive:

The fatal period of the cerberin toxin typically lasts 1-2 days. Once ingested, potassium supplements can be used to counter the toxic effects. Another method of getting rid of the toxin is through gastric lavage, or more commonly known as stomach pumping.

Which American nu metal band released a song titled “Suicide Trees”?

In 2004, OT3P released “Suicide Trees” off their album House of Secrets.


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