You can't stand under this toxic 'tree of death' when it is raining
You are hiking. It suddenly starts raining. You've haven't packed a tent because you had plans to return that day. There is no roof in sight and though people advise against standing under trees when it's raining, you just HAVE TO find a quick shelter during spell of rain you think would be over soon.
You stand under a tree. Sheltered from the downpour somewhat. And breathe some sigh of relief.
And all hell breaks loose!
Your skin starts itching. The mild sensation quickly turns into outright burning. It soon starts to feel like your whole body is on fire. What was meant to be a pleasant hike in the woods soon becomes a horrible story to tell...if you survive.
Reason for all this? You were standing under a tree called Arbol de la muerte in Spanish. Literal translation: The tree of death.
This is the most feared tree in the Caribbean and some other tropical climes. EVERY part of this tree is poisonous to humans. The tree literally oozes poison. Its sap contains number of toxins. To top it all, this sap is water soluble. This means it can easily fall on anyone below along with rainwater.
The death tree or Manchineel tree is so poisonous, that even Guinness Book of World Records has recorded it to be the most dangerous tree in the world.
The poisonous sap oozes out of everything, the bark, leaves and even the fruit.
To make things even worse, the fruit of this tree has a sweet smell and looks like a guava or an apple. This may trick someone who has lost his way in the woods to take a bite. What follows is a nightmare.
It begins with a burning sensation in mouth. It soon gives way to tightness in throat that becomes so excruciating that swallowing anything becomes difficult. If the person doesn't get medical attention quickly enough, this may even result in death.
The tree is so horrible that we can just remove it right?
The Manchineel tree may have horrible effects on humans, but it helps in stopping soil erosion that takes place due to waves of the sea, something that is important in the Caribbean.