The Gympie-Gympie stinging tree is one of the world’s deadliest plants and can leave you in agony and pain for months. Most people prefer to commit suicide rather than bear this pain.
Australia is home to a wide variety of animals and diverse habitats some beautiful, some cuddly, and some super-deadly. In terms of a formidable reputation, plants are no exception. Wildly thriving in Queensland, Australia is a humble-looking tree the Gympie-Gympie (Dendrocnide macrolides). Don’t let its humorous name, frizzy-leafed and innocuous appearance fool you; this stinging tree can leave you in agonizing pain for months, if not for years.
Being burned by hot scorching acid and a sensation of electric shocks trickling down your spine that’s what it can feel like when you experience this stinger, and surprisingly, you don’t even need to touch it. An extremely fine corsage of poisonous silica needles filled with potent neurotoxin coats the entire plant. And if this plant couldn’t get any more intense, the things shed like a feline in the summertime, so it’s dangerously easy to get stung by a thousand of these stingers without ever touching them.
If you’re stung by the Gimpy, you can’t just conveniently pluck the needles out, as you’d do with your hair using tweezers. Its “silica mane” is too fine and dense to be seen by the naked eye, so good luck finding and plucking them off. The only possible solution left is to rip them all out using hot wax and pray that not even a single stinger breaks off and becomes embedded in your skin. Even then, neither treatment is near perfect, and at best, it simply dilutes the pain, enough for it to not make you want to bite your arm off.
A dried-out, centuries-old Gimpy is equally harmful, as silica doesn’t wither off with the rest of the plant’s bio-molecules. The actual chemicals contained in its venom are not yet entirely understood by botanists, although the presence of a peptide, Moroidin (C47H66N14O10) may be involved.