Manchineel Tree – The Caribbean King Of Earth’s Killer Plants

manchineel treeThose who haven’t yet been to the Caribbean, probably don’t know of the deadly tree that would just love to have them feast on it’s delicious tasting little green apples. Having the reputation as being one of the most dangerous trees in the world, the Manchineel tree got its name from the Spanish word ‘manzanilla’, which means little apple.

The leaves, bark, sap and fruit of the tree are all poisonous. The little green apples on the tree smell and taste really good, but if eaten, can be fatal. Swallowing even a miniscule amount will cause blisters and swelling in the mouth and throat. And don’t even think of standing under one if it’s raining. Rainwater, that drips from the leaves and fruit, will cause burns and blisters if it comes in contact with human skin. If one catches on fire, it’s also very dangerous because the smoke can cause blindness.

Carib Indians used the tree’s sap to poison arrowheads, and its leaves to taint the drinking water of their enemies. It’s also said that, as a form of torture, they’d tie their victims to a Manchineel tree. So far, the only creatures known not to be affected by the poisons of the tree, are certain species of land crabs. Locals will usually mark the trees with warning signs, or large red X’s, for danger.


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