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  • A Florida vacation sounds like the nicest thing around - especially if you're coming

  • from a cold climate.

  • But you shouldn't let your guard down.

  • There's gators to watch out for if you're near the water, stinging insects flying around,

  • the 90-plus degree heat most days which can cause heatstroke and dehydration if you're

  • not careful - and of course, there's the internationally feared and dreaded, Florida

  • Man to watch out for.

  • It's enough to make you want to sit under an apple tree, relax in the shade, and have

  • a crisp bite to eat

  • STOP!

  • That's not an apple tree!

  • It's a tree bearing nothing but death!

  • Yes, that's right, in Florida, even the apple trees can't be fully trusted.

  • That's because there's a tree that looks almost exactly like an apple tree, but is

  • actually one of the most dangerous trees in the world.

  • Meet the Manchineel, a tree native to the southern part of North America.

  • Despite being most commonly found in central America and northern South America, it's

  • started showing up in Florida - and that means vacationers should watch what they take a

  • bite of.

  • So what makes this tree so deadly?

  • For one thing, it's a trap!

  • Both its leaves and the small fruits that grow from it bear a significant resemblance

  • to the common apple.

  • But it works in a different way from many mimics.

  • Mimics are usually animals that resemble a more dangerous animal, such as the hoverfly

  • which mimics the color pattern of a stinging wasp so predators will leave it alone.

  • The Manchineel resembles a harmless plant that bears tasty and nutritious fruit - but

  • anyone who eats it is in for the worst lunch of their life.

  • What is the Manchineel hiding in its appetizing-looking fruit?

  • The fruit of the Manchineel, also known as the Death Apple, is packed with a milky white

  • sap that contains dangerous toxins.

  • Even touching it with bare skin will cause allergic contact dermatitis, which can manifest

  • in redness, blisters, and severe pain.

  • But it's not just the fruit - the Manchineel is packed with this toxic compound in every

  • part of its body, including the leaves and even the bark.

  • This protects it from pests that could damage it, but makes it a massive health hazard to

  • anyone in the vicinity.

  • But what would happen if someone actually ate it?

  • Nothing good.

  • While there are no cases known in the modern day, eating and swallowing it could be fatal.

  • That's because the inside of the body - including the mouth and the digestive tract - has less

  • of a protective layer than the exterior skin.

  • The damage from the sap touching the body inside would be more severe than for someone

  • who touched it with their hands.

  • But don't take our word for it - listen to the unfortunate people at the source.

  • For those who have been unlucky enough to take a bite, they initially describe the taste

  • as sweet and tasty.

  • That changes quickly, as a peppery sensation sets in and makes eating the fruit painful.

  • But this is only the beginning of the Manchineel's revenge.

  • Radiologist Nicola Strickland made the mistake of taking a bite of the Manchineel's fruit

  • in 2000 while visiting the island of Tobago.

  • She described a burning, tearing sensation that led to an intense tightness of the throat.

  • This only got worse after a few hours, making it extremely painful and almost impossible

  • to swallow, as she could feel a massive pharyngeal lump in her throat.

  • She got through it by drinking pina coladas and milk, and after eight hours the symptoms

  • began to fade - although severe tenderness in her lymph nodes continued.

  • When she told her story to the locals, they reacted with shock and horror - the tree had

  • a reputation.

  • Other people who have eaten from the tree have suffered worse consequences - including

  • serious long-term gastrointestinal issues.

  • So just don't eat the fruit, and you should be fine, right?

  • Not quite.

  • The Manchineel has gone so overboard in its poison content that it can cause serious harm

  • even if it never comes near your mouth or hands.

  • Even standing beneath the tree can be dangerous - the sap leaks into the water when it's

  • raining, and the toxic water can blister the skin of anyone who gets hit by it.

  • So better find somewhere else to get shelter from the rain - the liquid is so corrosive,

  • it can damage the paint on cars if they're parked under it.

  • This tree sounds like a nightmare.

  • Might be a good idea to burn it and be done with it!

  • Think again!

  • The tree is so packed full of toxins that when burned, the latex that's packed with

  • poison can be a massive public health hazard.

  • The smoke becomes toxic, causing severe irritation to anyone who is in the immediate vicinity.

  • It can even cause serious eye damage if the smoke hits the corneas, potentially causing

  • blindness if someone doesn't get their eyes treated after exposure.

  • It's not a surprise that most Floridians are very cautious of the Manchineel tree.

  • So the state's probably trying to get rid of it - right?

  • Despite how dangerous it is, the Manchineel isn't classified as an invasive species

  • or a noxious weed.

  • It's actually listed as an endangered species in Florida, which means they're trying to

  • preserve it.

  • And as dangerous as it is, it does have its uses.

  • Those who have been living around the tree for centuries know how to handle it carefully

  • to render it harmless and useful.

  • Drying it out removes the sap, and the tree is used as a wood source by furniture-makers

  • in the Caribbean.

  • The bark can produce a gum that has health benefits for those suffering from Edema, and

  • even the toxic fruits can work as a diuretic when safely dried.

  • But one use doesn't neutralize the tree's deadliness - it takes advantage of it.

  • The deadly sap of the Manchineel tree has been used as a poison for centuries, with

  • locals in the Caribbean using it to poison their enemies' water supply.

  • The sap can also be used as a way to make conventional weapons toxic, such as coating

  • arrowheads with them.

  • One of these weapons may have even claimed the life of a famous explorer.

  • Juan Ponce De Leon was a Spanish explorer and colonial leader who made frequent voyages

  • to Florida.

  • But in 1521, he and his men were attacked by the local Calusa people who drove them

  • out of the territory.

  • Ponce de Leon was hit by an arrow and quickly became very ill, dying in Cuba.

  • Historians believe the arrow was coated with Manchineel sap.

  • But wouldn't the tree being so over-the-top poisonous make it hard to survive?

  • Fruit-bearing trees generally want their fruit to be eaten - that's how the seeds get spread.

  • In fact, some have made their fruit appealing to birds who swallow the fruit whole but deadly

  • to humans who chew it, thus ensuring the maximum spread.

  • But the Manchineel is deadly to almost every animal who eats it, so how does it get spread?

  • While iguanas seem immune to the toxins and sometimes eat and spread the seeds, the tree

  • does most of its spreading via the seas.

  • The coastal trees eventually drop their fruit into the sea, they're brought by the tides

  • to the coast, and they rot and grow anew - a tree designed to reproduce without ever having

  • anything eat it.

  • The Manchineel is a nasty tree that a lot of people fear - but is it truly the deadliest

  • tree in the world?

  • There are some serious contenders around the world - including one that may be even more

  • painful than the Manchineel.

  • Meet the Gympie Stinger.

  • Native to Australia, this plant - scientifically named Dendrocnide moroides - looks like a

  • harmless green plant with large green leaves.

  • But every single one of those leaves is coated with countless tiny stinging hairs that, when

  • touched, break off and deliver a powerful neurotoxin that it injects into the skin.

  • But unlike many toxic plants, the symptoms aren't going to disappear after a few hours

  • or days.

  • Victims of the Gympie Stinger report that the pain can persist for months, with some

  • people having to be hospitalized and strapped down due to the intense agony.

  • A legend about a soldier who committed suicide after accidentally using the plant as toilet

  • paper may be just that - a legend - but there's a reason this plant has been of interest to

  • people studying chemical weapons.

  • In the wrong hands, it could be a nightmare.

  • But this next deadly tree isn't a nightmare.

  • To most people, it's a tasty treat.

  • If you love Pina Coladas, Thai curries, or Almond Joys, you probably love coconuts.

  • These tall trees are common around tropical regions and are known for their round, hard-to-crack

  • fruit that contain sweet, tender meat and rich milk.

  • These are a primary source of food for the native population in the region, being packed

  • with fat and nutrients.

  • There's just one problem - these trees are high up, and occasionally they'll drop their

  • rock-like fruits which can weigh over three pounds.

  • If it falls from a high tree and hits someone square on the head - that could be a nasty

  • concussion or worse.

  • While most bonks on the head from a coconut won't be fatal, there are over seventeen

  • deaths from coconut falls recorded since the 1770s.

  • But in Australia, everything is bigger - including the deadly fruits falling from trees.

  • Meet the Bunya Pine.

  • We've all been bonked on the head by a pinecone, right?

  • Annoying, but rarely anything dangerous.

  • But in Australia, the massive Bunya pine has been around since prehistoric days - and with

  • it comes a constant omnipresent threat of death.

  • That's because the Bunya pine can grow to almost a hundred and fifty feet in height.

  • A fall from that height can make anything dangerous, but the Bunya pine's pinecones

  • can grow to a whopping twenty-two pounds.

  • When they hit the ground, they crack open and expose the edible nuts within.

  • But if this massive football-shaped cone was to hit a person, it would likely be instant

  • death.

  • But not all deadly trees have obvious threats.

  • That's why this next one got the name...the Suicide Tree.

  • Cerbera odollam is a common tree in India and southern Asia, mostly growing in swamps

  • and marshes.

  • But while its leaves and flowers make this small tree a pretty sight in the environment,

  • its seed kernels contain a deadly toxin.

  • Cerberin can block the calcium ion channels in the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat

  • that can lead to fatal heart failure.

  • While it can cause vomiting as a warning sign, this poison is notorious for how hard it is

  • to detect post-death.

  • This has made it a popular choice of poison in murders, with over five hundred cases of

  • Cerbera-related poisoning in only a ten-year period in the Indian state of Kerala.

  • And all it takes to kill is a single kernel.

  • The culprits in those deaths are generally human - but these next trees deal out death

  • all by themselves.

  • Meet the Sandbox Tree.

  • The Sandbox Tree, or Hura Crepitans, doesn't have the powerful poison or deadly weapons

  • of most of its competitors.

  • Native to parts of North and South America and Tanzania, it looks like a standard large

  • tree - except for its extreme method of reproduction.

  • Its fruits are large pumpkin-shaped balls that don't wait to be eaten - when they're

  • ripe, they explode and launch their seeds.

  • These powerful explosions can be thrown more than one hundred feet, and any person who

  • was caught right near an explosion could be seriously injured.

  • There's a reason this tree has earned the nicknameThe Dynamite Tree”.

  • And if the exploding fruit bombs weren't enough, this tree is dangerous to handle because of

  • its many sharp spines on its bark.

  • But this next tree may be laying a deadly trap.

  • What is the secret of the Namibian Bottle Tree?

  • Located in the desert, Pachypodium lealii or the Namibian Bottle Tree is one of the

  • oddest trees in the world and lives in a harsh climate.

  • It needs water to survive and there is very little around, so it devotes much of its body

  • to storing water long-term.

  • But there are plenty of animals - and even some wandering humans - that would love to

  • get their hands on that water.

  • That's why this tree produces a powerful, toxic latex filled with deadly alkaloids that

  • makes its water impossible to drink for any other creatures.

  • Humans have learned not to test their luck - but that doesn't always save the tree.

  • Not only can the poison be used to make arrows deadly, but locals are known to use the tree's

  • wood to make bowls that they use to poison and trap birds.

  • But do any of these trees compete with the Manchineel?

  • While some of these trees may have more potent poisons - and let's be real, there's probably

  • nothing in nature more dangerous than a pine cone the size of a boulder hitting you on

  • the head - what sets the Manchineel apart is just how thoroughly toxic it is.

  • TheDeath Applehas the same burning poison in every part of its body.

  • Most of these plants can be safe for use in many ways, or even essential to the local

  • ecosystem.

  • But with the Manchineel, you shouldn't eat it, or sit under it, or even breathe around

  • it in many circumstances.

  • The Manchineel is so toxic that most animals won't even come near it - a sure sign that

  • it's the deadliest tree in the world.

  • For more on deadly plants, check outIf You See This Plant, Walk Away Fast!”, or

  • watch this video instead.

This video is sponsored by Grammarly, the digital writing assistant that helps 30 million

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B1 tree deadly fruit toxic poison sap

Beware! This Tree WILL Kill You

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    Summer posted on 2021/05/01
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