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Where does the deadliest tree Manchineel found on earth?

07:03 PM Feb 28, 2023 IST | Wahid Bhat
where does the deadliest tree manchineel found on earth

The manchineel tree may be endangered, but so is anyone who messes with it. That’s because this rare tropical plant, which bears deceptively sweet fruit, is one of the most poisonous and deadliest trees on Earth.

The Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella), is also known as the ‘Death Apple’ or ‘Beach Apple’.


The Manchineel tree is considered one of the most poisonous trees in the world. All parts of the tree, including the bark, leaves, and fruit, contain a potent toxin called phorbol, which can cause severe skin irritation, blistering, and even death if ingested.

Also, the sap of the Manchineel tree is highly toxic and can cause blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. It is also said that standing under the tree during the rain can cause skin irritation from dripping water, which contains toxic sap.


Therefore, it is highly recommended to stay away from the Manchineel tree and not to touch or consume any part of it. It is also recommended to avoid taking shelter under the tree during rain. Local authorities often post warning signs near trees to alert people to their dangerous nature.

(Deadliest tree on earthOne of the most poisonous trees in the world, also known by a spanish name which translates to ‘little apple of death’. Source: Flickr

Why Manchineel is most dangerous Tree?

The Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella) is often considered the most dangerous tree in the world because it contains a potent and highly toxic mix of chemicals that can cause serious harm or even death. Here are some reasons:


  • Toxic Sap: The sap of the Manchineel tree is highly toxic and can cause severe skin irritation, blistering, and chemical burns. In some cases, the sap has even caused blindness upon contact with the eyes.
  • Toxic Fruit – The fruit of the Manchineel tree, sometimes called the ‘death apple,’ is also highly toxic and can cause serious illness or even death if consumed. The fruit resembles a small green apple, but should never be eaten or touched.
Hippomane mancinella tree. Source: Flickr
  • Hazardous Smoke: Burning the wood or leaves of the Manchineel tree can release toxic smoke that can cause respiratory problems and even blindness if inhaled.
  • Widespread Distribution: The Manchineel tree is found in parts of the Caribbean, Florida, and Central and South America, so people living in these areas should be aware of its dangerous properties.
  • Difficult to Identify: The tree itself appears innocuous and is often found in beach areas where people may be tempted to seek shelter under its branches during rain. It can be hard to identify, so people may not realize the danger until it’s too late.

Manchineel tree can cause blindness

The Manchineel tree is commonly found near the coast, particularly in mangroves, but can also be found in other coastal areas such as beaches, sand dunes, and lagoons. It is known for its glossy green leaves and small greenish-yellow fruit that resembles apples.

(Deadliest tree on earth) Hippomane mancinella (fruit). Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, both the leaves and the fruit of the Manchineel tree contain a potent toxin that can cause severe skin irritation, blindness, respiratory distress, and even death if ingested.


If contact is with the eyes, it can cause temporary or even permanent blindness, depending on the quantity. In blood, as estimated, the cytotoxic effect is lethal.

According to the chronicles, the indigenous people of the Caribbean seas used arrows smeared with sap or smeared with fruit to poison them.

Its juices are so toxic that the exudate collected by the rain can cause a burning sensation, blisters and ulcers, so it is not recommended to take refuge under this tree when it rains.

Burning your wood isn’t good either, and the smoke can temporarily blind you or terribly irritate your airways.

Where does deadliest tree Manchineel found on earth?

The Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella) is native to coastal areas of the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.

It is also found in parts of Central and South America, including Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Additionally, the Manchineel tree has been introduced to other parts of the world, including parts of Florida and the Gulf Coast of the United States, as well as some parts of Africa and Asia.

(Deadliest tree on earth) Even the raindrops coming off the leaves are dangerous – and it was raining. So we got out of there! Source: Flickr

However, its distribution outside its native range is limited and it is not considered an invasive species in these areas.

In more recent times, the dangers of the tree have become more widely recognized. Early European explorers of the Caribbean, such as Christopher Columbus and Sir Francis Drake, documented the toxic properties of the Manchineel tree in their writings.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the tree was used as a form of punishment, tying criminals to its trunk and letting them suffer the effects of the sap.

Today, the Manchineel tree is recognized as a significant danger to humans and animals due to its highly toxic sap, leaves, and fruit.

What to do if someone touch Manchineel tree?

If someone touches a Manchineel tree, it can cause serious health problems. The tree’s sap contains a highly toxic chemical called phorbol, which can cause severe skin irritation, blistering, and burns. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death.

If someone has touched a Manchineel tree, it is important to take immediate steps to minimize the effects of the toxin. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible to remove the sap from the skin.
  • Flush the area with water for at least 15 minutes.
  • If your eyes have been affected, flush your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes and seek immediate medical attention.
  • Seek medical attention if the person shows any symptoms, such as severe pain, blistering, or difficulty breathing.
  • Do not touch any other part of your body, as the sap may spread and cause more damage.
  • Do not touch anyone or any other object until you have washed your hands thoroughly.
  • Avoid drinking water or eating any food that may have been contaminated by the sap.

It is important to take immediate action if someone has touched a Manchineel tree to minimize the effects of the toxic sap.

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Wahid Bhat

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Wahid Bhat is an accomplished environmental journalist with a passion for covering climate change and environmental issues. He holds a degree from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and has served as the Media Fellow for NFI India and Thomson Reuters Foundation. Wahid's reporting has been published in a range of respected outlets including Earth Journalism, Global Village Space, The Quint, Youth Ki Awaaz, Devdiscourse, and Kashmir Observer. With an extensive background in the field, Wahid has established himself as a trusted voice in environmental journalism, and his work serves as an important contribution to the conversation around climate change and sustainability. You can follow Wahid on Twitter at @Wahidbhat32.

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