The World’s Most Poisonous Tree Is Dangerous All Over

Samuel Reason | November 19th, 2018

The little apple of death or as the locals call it Manzanita de la Muerte is a fruit that you may have thought only exists in a fairy tale. But this sweet fruit is not from a story at all, this fruit comes from the most dangerous tree in the world: the manchineel.

Native to South Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, this dangerous tree grows bright shiny apples with oval-shaped leaves. Not much taller than a bush it grows just 50 feet high with a grayish looking bark. The fruit looks like a crabapple but is very sweet smelling, meaning many have falling victim to its poison as it is very tempting.

And everything single part of this tree is highly poisonous: from the back to the sap, even the leaves and of course it’s fruit. They are often marked with a red ban to warn people not to touch them at all. Every single element that comes from the manchineel tree is lethal to humans. The milky sap from the tree is highly caustic, which means that people who come in contact with it will experience rashes, headaches, severe breathing problems, and painful blindness.

If you happen to be caught in a rainstorm around these trees, do not even stand under them, travelers have often been caught out by taking shelter under the machine tree only to find the water that runs off them causes their skin to burn.

Columbus famously called them Death Apples after many of his troops succumbed to vomiting and diarrhea after eating them. Of course, natives to South Florida would dip their arrows in the sap also, meaning many conquistadors would die after the battle simply from being hit in the arm by an arrow.

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