Not only animals, but plants can also hurt you. There are many dangerous plants exist which can make you sick.
But the most dangerous and deadly plant is Gympie Gympie. It’s nickname sounds cute as well as plant also looks harmless.
It’s fuzzy leaves may fool you. But just a slight touch of this venomous plant can leave you in intense, unbearable pain.
This plant is also known as the Suicide Plant.
As the name suggests itself, pain is so extreme and long lasting that suffering person may want to kill himself.
So here is everything about this deadly Gympie or Suicide Plant. Read also Moving Cactus.
The most toxic plant’s Binomial name is Dendrocnide moroides.
This plant is known by many other names also, like Mulberry-leaved Stinger, Stinging Brush, Gympie Stinger, Moonlighter or the Suicide Plant.
This plant is commonly found in rain forest areas of northeast of Australia.
Gympie Stinger is a type of soft wooded bush belonging to the nettle family growing over 20 meters.
It has heart shaped leaves with saw tooth edges and white or purple-red fruit.
Fruit is edible if hairs have been carefully removed. The whole plant is covered with silica hairs filled with venom.
Dendrocnide moroides is the most toxic among all the species of stinging trees in Australia.
How Gympie Gympie is deadly plant?
Gympie Gympie is listed in endangered plants. It is best known for its extremely fine stinging hairs like needles that covers the whole plant.
Every part of the tree like heart shaped leaves, stem and its pink or purple fruit is covered with stinging fine hairs.
On just a little touch, it delivers a potent neurotoxin that causes excruciating pain.
Although Gympie Gympie is called a tree, can reach up to 4-5 m but often they are found as smaller shrubs, only 0.1 to 1 m tall.
Smaller shrubs also called as “ankle biters” because incautious travelers often brushes their feet against it.
The hairs of this tree are so fine and brittle that just brushing against this plant is enough for thousands of them to snap off and penetrate through your skin and then it releases a painful active toxin called Moroidin.
A Botanist Marina Hurley spent three years in Queensland’s Atherton Tableland. She was investigating the herbivores that eat the stinging trees. At the same time while research, she got stung by Gympie plant.
According to Marina Hurley, on touching Gympie it feels like ” being burned by hot acid and electrocuted at the same time“.
Even touching the plant not required, in the summertime it sheds like a cat and so it is common to get stung by just standing near the plant.
Sometimes, when the plant is cut or cleared in large area, the hairs are believed to spread in the air.
So if you haven’t used respiratory precautions, the scattered hairs can get the way into your body through breathing, which causes rashes, itching, nosebleeds and sneezing.
In 1963, Ernie Rider got stung on face and torso with the foliage. She described her pain as-
For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so.
The stinging persisted for two years and recurred every time I had a cold shower. … There’s nothing to rival it; it’s ten times worse than anything else.
The extreme itching pain is so high that it is known to kill horses, dogs and even humans.
Actually the stinging pain is so powerful that even the people who have got stung by this Suicide plant tried to kill themselves to escape the pain.
The Sting of Gympie is often described as “the worst pain imaginable”. The painful stinging sensation lasts from hours to 1 to 2 days.
Even later, the pain repeatedly comes in lessening degree whenever the injured part is touched, exposed to water or when the temperature changes. It usually remains for several months to years.
If you got stung by Gympie, first you must remove the penetrated hairs from the skin. This way you can stop releasing toxic to your body.
The best recommended way to remove the hairs is to apply diluted hydrochloric acid on affected areas and then remove hairs with hair removal strip.
If at that time it is not available , you can use adhesive tape or tweezers. But you must be very careful to remove hairs intact, without breaking them.
Because if any part of the hair remains buried in your skin, it will increase the pain. Antidote of this plant’s venom does not exist.
Some animals can eat Gympie Gympie
Although most of the animals get affected by the deadly Gympie plant. But there are some mammals to whom this plant can’t stop from eating.
Several insects, birds marsupial species, including the red-legged pademelon eat the leaves of this plant.