Gympie Gympie – The plant with a sweet name can even kill you

Can a plant kill you?

Can just touching a plant be so dangerous?

There is a plant in the northeast of Australia which has such enormous power.

gympie gympie

Dendrocnide moroides, commonly known as Gympie Gympie is best known for stinging hairs.

These stinging hairs cover the whole plant and releases neurotoxin when touched. This is the most poisonous species of all others of the same kind. This species is unique. In this, few male flowers are surrounded by female flowers and are small in size. The stalk of the flowers swells up to become fruit after pollination.

Its fruits are like mulberries and are juicy.

gympie gympie

But, they also have those stinging hairs around them. Once those hairs are removed, they become edible. Many bugs and insects feed on these fruits. These trees are of various lengths. Gympie Gympie can be small shrubs and can even grow up to 3 meters in height. The leaves of this plant are heart-shaped and are as long as 22 cm long and as wide as 18 cm.

The seeds of this plant germinate in full sunlight and they are found in the rainforest gaps. If a person touches the leaves or the twigs of the plant, it releases a toxin which in turns creates immense irritation in the human body. The hairs on the plant give extreme stinging sensation and can last for weeks or even years.

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The infected area swells up forming numerous red spots, which join together to form a belt. If not treated immediately, the poison can further start the reaction with the blood cells causing vomiting. Excess loss of energy due to the vomit causes unconsciousness. The treatment is nothing too costly or difficult. The only way is to apply diluted hydrochloric acid and remove those stinging hairs using hair removal straps. The hairs must not break while removing. All the hairs must be completely removed. If a single bit of hair gets left behind, the toxin starts affecting. It only increases the pain level.

In the year 1963, Ernie Rider was slapped in the face with the foliage. He said that the pain was unbearable for two-three days. He was unable to sleep or work as the pain was quite high for few more days as well. It was awful for two years, especially while taking a cold bath, as the stinging continued. He claims it to be ten times worse than anything else.

Beware of this place, beware of this plant.




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