Innocent-Looking Tree in Florida Is 'The Most Dangerous' in the World

An innocent-looking tree in Florida is thought to be the deadliest in the world, with every part of it—from the fruit to the sap—potentially fatal to humans.

The Manchineel tree looks like any other, with lean branches giving way to waxy green leaves and small apple-like fruit.

But eat anything from the tree, stand under it during rain, use its wood to make a fire, or merely touch its sap, and its poison could kill.

The Manchineel was hailed as the most dangerous tree in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011.

It can be found in only one location in the U.S.—Florida.

More precisely, in the Everglades. So if you thought gators are the most dangerous thing in the sunshine state, think again.

Revealing why the tree gets the prestigious accolade from the record-breakers, the Guinness Book of World Records said: "The sap that its trunk exudes is so poisonous and acidic that the merest contact with human skin causes a breakout of blisters, and blindness can occur if it touches a person's eyes.

"Even standing under it in the rain is enough to cause blistering if the skin is wetted by raindrops containing any sap. In addition, a single bite of its small green apple-like fruit causes blistering and severe pain, and can prove fatal.

"And if one of these deadly trees is burned, the resulting smoke can cause blindness if it reaches a person's eyes."

As its fruit bears an uncanny resemblance to delicious apples, the Manchineel is also nicknamed the "beach apple."

Its botanical name is Hippomane mancinella, derived from the Spanish word "manzanilla," meaning "little apple." The University of Florida claims the tree was referred to as "manzanilla de la muerte" by the conquistadors, meaning "little apple of death."

The existence of Florida's dangerous inhabitant was noted by The Weather Channel's Instagram page, which shared a snap of the tree on Sunday.

It posted a clip detailing the tree's horrifying properties, saying: "A tree growing in coastal Florida is considered the most dangerous in the world. Here's why you never want to go anywhere near the manchineel tree."

The captions echoed the record-breaking entry, citing toxic fruit, "painful burns" from rain mixed with sap, blisters from touching leaves, and blindness caused by smoke should the wood be burned.

The video also revealed that most trees carry warning signs on them, or are painted red, to ward off unsuspecting ramblers.

"Caution the fruits of this manchineel tree are poisonous. Do not stand beneath tree when it is raining," one sign featured in the footage read.

The Weather Channel's social media post amassed more than 2,000 likes since being shared, as Erickelll joked: "Wait till Florida man meets Florida tree."

Docboy33 commented: "Ok great, trees not to touch!"

While S_mcgavin12 added: "It can't possibly be more dangerous than the Florida man."

The fruit of the Manchineel tree.
The fruit of the Manchineel tree. The deadly tree is lethal, with all parts, including the fruit and sap, toxic. sorsillo/Getty Images


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