The manchineel tree, Hippomane mancinella species or the tree of death. It is part of the family Euphorbiaceae the name was from Spanish ‘manzanilla’ stand for ‘little apple.’ It was also reportedly called ‘manzanita de la muerte’ (which mean little apple of death) by a researcher called Christopher Columbus. But even the fruit can be the least dangerous part of the tree because, every part of the tree pose a great danger to your life once you go close to it. It is a poison tree and one of the most poisonous plants in the world.
The fruit and leaves looks the same way like that of an apple tree, but a bit could land at a hospital emergency room within minutes. But, it is a very deadly and poisonous tree that should be avoided as much as possible. It was termed by the Guinness book of record as the most dangerous tree on earth.
Based on various researches, virtually every part of the manchineel tree has the potential to harm a great deal and even leads to death. The fruit can make someone throat to close up, its while its sap cause instant blister, dermatitis, swelling or burns and blindness as fast as possible, and also the manchineel tree bark can cause blindness also. As terrifying this may be, the manchineel has been used for a very long time by indigenous people of the Caribbean to make poisons used in their arrows for hunting, and may have traced to be the cause of the death of Juan Ponce de Leon the explorer in the 16th century. In a struggle with some people, an arrow with manchineel sap was shot at Ponce de Leon’s leg, which caused his death.
The whole of it is very poisonous so if you ever spot one , its good you stay away as far as possible to avoid impeding danger associated with it.
Many naïve travelers have been hurt and killed by this tree. Once they unknowingly run under the tree for shelter during rain. The sap is so poisonous that even a single rain drop coming from the tree branch can burn the skin instantly. The bark is poisonous too, so using it for fire wood can cause the smoke released from the wood burning to cause temporary or some extreme cases permanent blindness. Looking at all the way this tree can hurt anyone it’s still the most deadly tree ever known.
Description and Habitat
The manchineel is a tree of about 15m tall which poses grayish bark, small greenish flowers and shiny green leaves. Its fruits are mostly green like that of an apple and greenish yellow when ripped.
The manchineel trees are mostly found near beaches in the Central America and in Caribbean. It is an excellent windbreaker and the tree roots stabilize the soil, which in turn prevent the erosion of the nearby beach. It is native to the Western Hemisphere, and very poisonous in anywhere they are found. They are also found of growing in Florida, and the Bahamas.
It is most of the time marked with anger signs to prevent travelers from resting under them.
We can check in this experience the symptoms, “I took a bite of the fruit and found it sweet to eat. A friend of mine also partook when I told him it tasty it was. After a moment, we felt a peppery feeling in our mouth, which increased into burning, and other leather sensation and blocking of the throat.”
The symptom persists for two hours and they couldn’t swallow any meal because of the extreme pain in their throats. Milk was the only that helps and it took almost 8 hours for the pain to subside. The tree usually lures many travelers because it provides shade, and their fruit are so good t look on, but their effects are not to be experienced. We thank God that many of the tree around the world has been noted and danger sign is been placed on them.
How Poisonous is it?
A contact with it can land you in a hospital. The sap causes blister and burning sensation very fast. All the part of the tree from the fruit, leave and bark are all poisonous.
– Eating the fruit, which looks like an apple fruit with a good taste, can block your throat in a matter of minutes. This will leave you struggling to swallow anything.
– Standing under the tree is asking for trouble. Because when it’s raining a drop from it branch will cause a burning sensation or blister on your skin.
– When you are trying to cut down the tree if their saps come in contact with your skin, it will form blister as well.
– Using the tree for fire wood can cause temporary or permanent blindness depending on how close you are to the smoke coming from the wood.
– Caribbean’s uses the sap of this tree to poison their arrow used for hunting or fighting.
– It is a new drug used now to torture people in the prison.
So, if you ever see it anywhere do not touch it and never try to take shelter under it especially when it’s raining. Most importantly don’t allow your kids to go near it, because their fruit smell nice but not pleasant when you take them.