World’s deadliest tree: touch it and you will die

By: | November 18th, 2021

Image courtesy: Flickr

If you ever come across a tree that bears a sweet-scented fruit that looks like guava or an apple, don’t let it fool you.

Because this tree is the most feared in the world

Not only the poison apple, but every part of this tree is poisonous. The sap from the leaves and stems is toxic too. If touched, the irritants found in the sap can give you inflammation and painful blisters on the skin. Even the smoke from its burning wood can irritate your eyes.

To top it all, its sap is highly water-soluble. If you are standing under this tree when it’s raining, even the raindrops carrying the diluted sap can severely burn your skin.

Image courtesy: wikimedia commons

The reason for all this is the manchineel tree or the ‘Tree of death’

Sometimes referred to as ‘beach apple’ or ‘poison guava’, it bears another name in Spanish, Arbol de la Muerte, which literally means “tree of death“. It’s native to the Caribbean, Florida, Bahamas, Mexico, and Central and South America. 

Carib Indians used to poison their arrows with the tree’s sap and would even tie their captives to the tree for a slow and painful death.

The tree is so horrifying that warning signs are put around them

In 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records recorded manchineel (Hippomane mancinella) as the most dangerous tree globally.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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