The manchineel tree grows steadily along the sandy beaches of many tropical places of the world, including the southernmost portion of the United States. To most passersby, it is easily ignored since it has no major distinguishing features besides the small, apple-like fruit that sprouts on its branches during the warm seasons of the year. But for those who have ever had the unpleasant experience of coming in contact with it, it is known as the deadliest tree in the world.
Whenever the manchineel tree is cut or damaged in any way, it oozes a sap that can burn the skin, cause blindness, and kill any living being that attempts to consume it. The fruit has the same devastating effect, but few realize this until it is too late since it initially tastes sweet and pleasant. In mere seconds, a person’s throat will begin to close up from the swelling and burning that occurs though. The leaves and bark are no different, so it is rare to ever see any animals climbing on it since they will often die shortly thereafter.
Those who can identify the tree often do their best to mark it so that others won’t be injured by it. This is no easy task to do while standing at a safe distance though. So folks who are vacationing in the tropic regions of South America may want to stay clear of any trees that they come across that have red crosses painted on them. Florida beaches in the United States make locating the trees much easier by posting large warning signs by them though.
It is important to mention that there is no known cure for the toxins that the manchineel tree produces. Some indigenous people try to use arrowroot powder to soothe their skin if they are injured by it. But modern hospitals generally only provide palliative care to their patients because there is little else that they can do to treat them