There are countless trees that create delicious sap that humans use for food. On the other hand, there are a few tree species with sap so toxic; they could kill you. In fact, you may not even need to ingest the sap from these trees for severely adverse consequences.
Many of these trees grow in tropical areas. Moreover, human populations are not large where these trees thrive. Regardless of these conditions, you must be wary of these trees. In fact, the sap from these trees is not the only danger. The trees on our list pose many other threats to us, including shrapnel and other poisonous portions.
Oftentimes, you do not need to ingest the sap to poison you. Simple skin contact can cause severe blisters, vomiting, and hallucinations.
Education and awareness of these tree species can save many lives. Even though we heavily depend on trees, bushes, and smaller plants for survival, plant life does not exist to support us. Moreover, other life forms may not be a victim of these poisonous trees. Overall, trees develop in the conditions they have and create defenses to protect themselves. That being said, we have five trees that you should be careful of when exploring our great world.
Five Trees with Poisonous Sap
- Manchineel Tree
- Sandbox Tree
- Milky Mangrove
- Golden Chain
1. Manchineel Tree
The manchineel tree is the deadliest tree on the planet. This species grows in warmer climates particularly Florida, Mexico, parts of Central America, and the Bahamas. Significant attempts to destroy the population in Florida have been successful. In fact, the species is on the endangered list in the United States.
Every part of this tree is a danger. The leaves, bark, and fruit are all toxic. Consumption will cause severe gastrointestinal issues, bleeding, and a restricted airway.
Additionally, the sap is poisonous for consumption or skin contact. In fact, standing below this tree in the rain will result in massive blisters. If the sap were to touch your eyes, it can cause blindness and other serious issues with your eyes.
Simply exposing your skin and eyes to the smoke of a burning manchineel tree can cause blistering and eye injuries.
The black-spined iguana lives amongst the branches and even consumes the fruit of the manchineel.
2. Sandbox Tree
The sandbox tree is another dangerous tree. This tree grows natively in the Amazon Rainforest. Other areas host some sandbox trees, including Florida and Tanzania. In fact, it is considered invasive in Africa.
Like the manchineel tree, every part of the sandbox tree is poisonous. Consuming the leaves, fruit, or sap will cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Additionally, the sap can cause large blisters on the skin. Finally, if the sap touches your eyes, it will blind you.
Some of the native tribes that live amongst the sandbox trees use the sap to create poison darts.
This tree is very easy to recognize because tiny spikes cover the entire bark. The spikes are covered in that poisonous sap.
Another dangerous aspect of the sandbox tree is the fruit. When the fruit reaches maturity, it falls from the branches to the ground and explodes. The small, flattened seeds fire from the exploded fruit at speeds up to 150 miles per hour. Altogether, the small seeds are moving fast enough to seriously injure anyone nearby.
3. Milky Mangrove
The milky mangrove threatens a different area of the world than the manchineel and the sandbox. You will find the milky mangrove growing in Australia and India.
Overall, the milky mangrove thrives in tropical mangrove forests, primarily in wetlands and swamps. The presence of this tree in these areas can be a serious problem because the sap and leaves poison the water and fish.
These trees only grow to 50 feet in height in their native environments. However, they grow incredibly well for the environment.
The sap will cause blisters on your skin almost immediately. That being said, many local names for the milky mangrove refer to blindness. Small contact from the sap to the eyes will cause temporary blindness. More substantial contact will permanently blind you.
Native cultures used the sap to poison their darts. Some cultures found medicinal uses for portions of this tree, but the dried leaves still contain poison.
4. Golden Chain
The golden chain tree grows to 30 feet in height. You will find it growing in many parts of Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Despite the toxicity, the golden chain tree is uniquely beautiful. For this reason, gardeners plant this tree for decoration.
All parts of this tree are poisonous. However, it is rarely deadly. Altogether, consumption of the leaves, bark, fruit, or sap will result in gastrointestinal symptoms, coma, intense sleepiness, and seizures. It takes a very small amount of consumption to cause severe symptoms.
Overall, the symptoms experienced from golden chain poisoning are a whole-body experience. The muscles, digestive tract, nervous system, and eyes are all affected.
Considering this tree is often chosen for decorative planting, pet owners must be aware of the threat all portions of this tree pose. A horse only needs to consume 0.05% of its body weight in seeds to experience symptoms.
Many insects depend on the golden chain tree for sustenance and a lovely habitat.
Probably the most widely known species on this list, cedar trees still pose a serious threat. One of the most significant reasons cedar trees pose such a danger is their abundance. Originally, cedar trees grow in mountainous climates around the Mediterranean.
For many reasons, gardeners have transplanted cedar trees around the world. We have many uses for cedar trees, cedar wood, and cedarwood oil. However, the sawdust can cause severe allergic reactions.
If ingested, the cedar sap is toxic. It can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, seizures, liver damage, and death. Humans and pets are both in danger to the cedar tree. All parts of the cedar tree are poisonous including the leaves.
Many insects depend on the cedar tree for food. Altogether, we must be cognizant of this silent threat. Cedar trees are planted in massive abundance around the world and can seriously injure humans and pets.