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The Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella)

These trees bare a fruit that may look similar to that of apples or pears, but the last thing that you want to do is take a bite out of them. But why are they so deadly? Let's look at the science and find out!

Physical Description and Behavior

These are evergreen trees that can grow almost 50 feet high. It has a reddish-gray bark and bright green leaves. The yellow-green flowers that bloom all over it grow into a fruit that looks similar to that of an apple.

The biggest thing about this tree is the fact that pretty much every part of it is toxic. For instance, the sap can cause bad skin irritation to the point where even being under the tree as it rains can cause severe skin burns.

The fruit itself can be potentially fatal if eaten. It tastes sweet at first, having a bit of a peppery aftertaste. This soon turns into full-blown searing pain as the juices burn your mouth and throat from the inside, making it hard to swallow due to the pain. It also causes gastroenteritis and stomach bleeding, as well as shock, infections, and even the risk of one's airway being blocked.

Due to the color of the inner wood, it is often preferred for making tables and other things. But to deal with the poison, they have to carefully cut it and leave it outside in the sun for days to dry and neutralize the toxins.

Habitat and Location

This tree is found in the Caribbean, Southern Florida, Central America, Mexico, and even Northern South America. It prefers wet areas near mangroves, such as beaches and swamps. It grows in super windy areas, making it an extremely sturdy tree.

According to the IUCN Redlist it is considered of Least Concern, but Florida claims that this species is endangered in its state.

Find out more about it by checking out the video below:

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