The World's Deadliest Trees

By: albertaarb - May 21, 2014

Trees are not typically something that most individuals would consider dangerous. Trees create a beautiful landscape and offer shade on hot days. However, this does not change the fact that there are deadly trees in the world that can harm or even kill humans. Below are some interesting facts about the world's deadliest trees.

The Machineel

The Machineel is one of the most deadliest trees known to man. It is a very attractive plant, featuring shiny, spiked leaves and lovely green flowers that transform into sweet smelling crab apples. However, humans should choose a different tree to satisfy their craving for fruit, as all parts of the Machineel are poisonous. The leaves emit a sap-like substance that can cause skin blisters and blindness. 

The alkaloids hippomanin and mancinellin found in Machineel sap are what make it one of the world's deadliest trees. Although the fruit is initially pleasant-tasting, it is this part that is most lethal. Those who accidentally consume Machineel apples will experience tracheal closing within ten minutes, followed by death shortly thereafter. In certain cases, hemorrhaging in the digestive tract also occurs. 


Hemlock trees are among the most mysterious and beautiful trees in the world, but there is a reason they are also referred to as "deadly nightshade." They can paralyze and kill a human within minutes. Leaves from the Hemlock tree were widely used in ancient Greece as a means of suicide and execution. In fact, unknown to many individuals, the great philosopher Socrates used Hemlock to take his own life in 399 B.C. 

The track record of these trees with regard to human mortality is impeccable. Even those who ingest only small amounts of Coniine--the poison found in the leaves--will experience a phenomenon called ascending muscular paralysis, which results in death when it reaches the heart. 

Cerbera Odollam 

Although it features a somewhat romantic name and has a beautiful appearance, the Cerbera Odollam is deadly. It is rather small, featuring dark leaves and beautiful white and yellow flowers that are quite fragrant. The fruits are often twinned and feature green speckles, but its seeds are extremely poisonous. This plant is similar to the Plumeria, both in appearance and scent. Although a popular tree because of its appealing looks, one should not be attracted enough to eat its seeds if he or she wants to live a long, healthy life.

The Bunyan Pine

The Bunyan Pine is believed to have existed since the age of the dinosaurs. Interestingly, this plant also boasts an edible section, unlike those listed above. When the tree is in full bloom, large cone-like structures blossom from its branches, which contain delicious, sweet nuts. Natives of Queensland, Australia-- where the Bunyan Pine is primarily found--have enjoyed these nuts for centuries. However, the leaves, sap and bark of the tree are extremely poisonous. 

In addition to its toxic properties, there is another characteristic that makes the Bunyan Pine one of the world's deadliest trees. Every few years, trees of this type drop exceptionally large cones, the latter of which sometimes weigh as much as 20 pounds. It is easy to see how this could be quite dangerous for unsuspecting passersby. Although not all deadly trees grow in residential areas, anyone who suspects the presence of such a botanical on his or her property should contact a professional for advice about possible emergency tree removal

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