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Earth’s most poisonous plants

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This page was last edited on 23 January , at Eating the fruit usually causes abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding and digestive tract damage, Nellis adds. Death is widely considered a risk, but mortality data for ingesting the manchineel fruit — informally known as a "beach apple" — are scarce.

And aside from the short-term danger, some manchineel compounds may be co-carcinogenic, promoting the growth of benign and malignant tumors. The most famous victim of manchineel is probably conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon, who led the first European expedition into Florida in He returned to colonize the peninsula eight years later, but his invasion met resistance from Calusa fighters.

Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean

Some native Caribbean people used manchineel sap to make poison arrows, and one of these sap-tipped arrows reportedly struck Ponce de Leon's thigh during the battle. He fled with his troops to Cuba, where he died of his wounds. Manchineel also has peaceful uses.

Normally a hefty shrub, it can grow up to 50 feet tall, producing toxic timber that has long tempted Caribbean carpenters. And despite the danger, people have used manchineel to make furniture for centuries, carefully cutting the wood and then drying it in the sun to neutralize its poisonous sap.

Manchineel - Top 10 Most Poisonous Plants | HowStuffWorks

Native people even used manchineel as medicine: A gum made from the bark can reportedly treat edema, while dried fruits have been used as a diuretic. Info Alerts Maps Calendar Reserve.

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It has dark green leaves that can have a reddish hue. It resembles holly.


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Symptoms: Burning, itching skin, swelling, irritation and rash that can last up to several weeks. It is found throughout the island. Covered in hundreds of hooked spines, catch and keep is aptly named for its ability to hook into and hold anything.

Symptoms: Barbed spines can penetrate skin causing dozens of cuts, irritation, redness, swelling and infection. Ingestion of the small green apple- like fruit can cause Death!

Top 10 Most Dangerous and Poisonous Plants

Symptoms: Severe burning and blistering of the skin, temporary blindness. Remedy: Wash with soap and water; if severe reaction, seek medical treatment. Spines easily penetrate clothing and can become imbedded in skin.


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