Manchineel (Hippomane Mancinella)

Manzanilla is one of the most poisonous trees in the world. This species of flowering plant is native to Central America and the Caribbean. The name mancinella is derived from Spanish manzanilla which means “little apple” because its leaves and fruits look like an apple. All parts of this tree including the fruit contain strong toxins. It will secrete a white milky substance during rainfall. It is said that standing beneath the tree during rain may cause blistering of the skin from mere contact with this liquid. Burning the tree may cause blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. The fruit can also be fatal if eaten.

The Caribs used the sap of this tree to poison their blowgun darts and were known to poison the water supply of their enemies with the leaves. As a form of torture they would tie victims to this tree and leave them exposed to the elements.




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