7 Poisonous Plants to Avoid

How to recognize them and what to do if you touch one
machineel tree fruit Photo: Hans Hillewaert/Wikipedia
people hiking in jungle
poison ivy
poison oak
Poison sumac leaves
spurge plant
machineel tree fruit
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Manchineel tree

This endangered plant holds the Guinness World Records for the world’s most dangerous tree. Native to South Florida and the Caribbean, the Manchineel tree bears a fruit the Spanish conquistadors dubbed “the little apple of death,” since even a single bite can be fatal. According to the Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, interaction “with any part of this tree may be lethal.” The tree releases a milky sap that can scorch the eyes and skin, something experienced by beachgoers who unwittingly use it for shade. Its wood and bark are also poisonous, claiming its most famous victim in Juan Ponce de Leon, who was reportedly killed by an arrow made from the manchineel.

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