Its fruits resemble small apples, which on top of that are juicy and sweet. But that’s just appearances, because manchineel, is one of the most toxic trees with literally deadly fruit.
Around Paradise Beaches
The Spanish called it the “little apple of death” and the Caribbean people called it the poisonous guava. Hippomane mancinella, or manchineel grows mainly in the tropics of Central America, and if it weren’t for the resistance of environmentalists and the world of science, people would probably have long since uprooted it down to the last tree.
Pictures Can Be Deceiving…
The poisonous guava looks very ordinary, but its sap contains large amounts of highly toxic phorbol. It is present in both the tree and the fruit. The mere contact of phorbol with the skin causes painful burns and blisters, and if somehow the phorbol-containing sap gets into the eyes, it can result in blindness. As you can guess eating death apples usually ends in burns to the internal organs, and with a large amount eaten it can even end in death.
Hippomane mancinella some time ago was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s deadliest tree. As its sap mixes well with water even standing under this tree during rain can end up with burns.
Dangerous Tree Warning Signs
It is just as dangerous to inhale the smoke from burning manchineel wood as it is to come in contact with your skin, especially your eyes. For human safety, manchineel trees are often red-tagged in the tropics.
Did you know that such dangerous trees exist?