Trees are incredible organisms, and the Brockley team gets to see what makes them so amazing up close every day. However, there are some species we’d prefer you to keep off your landscaping, though unless you’re in the Addams Family or a character in a Stephen King novel, no one would want these trees on their property anyway!
Just in time for the spookiest day of the year, here are five trees that are poisonous, deadly, creepy, and even explosive!
The Toxic Manchineel Tree
The manchineel is sometimes called the beach apple tree, but people in Spain often call it the manzanilla de la muerte, meaning “little apple of death.” The name doesn’t come lightly because the manchineel is one of the most toxic trees in the world. The tree’s milky-white sap contains many toxins that can cause severe blistering to unsuspecting visitors. No part of the tree is safe for handling: the toxic sap is in the leaves, bark, and fruit. Despite the nickname, the tree is not a real apple tree – it only looks like one.
The Exploding Sandbox Trees
The sandbox tree, also known as the “monkey no-climb” due to the spikes on its trunk, is one of the most poisonous trees in the Americas. On top of the spikes, the sap is very toxic, causing nasty rashes. But the most unexpected danger of the tree is why it also goes by the name “dynamite tree”: when the sandbox tree fruit ripens, it explodes, sending seeds in all directions more than 250 kilometers an hour!
Several tree species produce blood-red sap, and gashes in these trees are not for the squeamish!. For example, the Dracaena cinnabari, or the dragon blood tree, is a species of evergreen that gives off a bright red resin. When you cut into the Pterocarpus angolensis, or wild teak, out will dribble long tracks of dark-red liquid down its trunk. Tannins turn the sap of the wild teak a dark red colour, giving it the very appropriate nickname Bloodwood.
The Bunya Pines Of Queensland, Australia
The bunya pine, or Araucaria bidwillii, has been around since before dinosaurs roamed the earth. These days, you’ll only find this tree in Queensland, Australia, but it’s probably for the best: bunya pines will drop large, heavy cones every few years. The cones weigh up to 40 pounds each, and because the tree can grow up to 50 metres, that drop can become lethal. While local Aboriginal peoples have long relied on them as a source of food, the cones are a danger to those who least expect them.
The Strangler Figs Of Angkor Wat
You can find stories of man-eating trees in myths and legends from around the world, but take it from us, people have nothing to fear. But many tropical tourists say that strangler figs look ready to swallow anything in their path! Strangler fig is a name given to a wide range of tropical trees and vines, and while they don’t strangle people, they do give off that vibe. Regardless, you wouldn’t want them growing by your home! The strangler figs growing around the walls of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, a Buddhist temple and the largest religious building in the world, are slowly taking over the place.