Today I want to talk about the ways that trees can kill you. Specifically, the Sandbox or Dynamite tree. (Hura crepitans)
To begin, have a picture of the sandbox tree’s trunk:
Does that look painful? I think it looks painful. The trunk is covered with spikes, which gave the nickname of the “Monkey-no-Climb”. It can grow up to be 100 feet tall and can have diameters of three feet across. THAT’S A BIG TREE. And it’s all covered with spikes.
It also produces fruit! It’s kind of cute looking, really, like a tiny green squash.
Except the fruit explodes. Violently. It’s been known to launch the seeds inside the fruit away from the tree at speeds of 150 mph, and can go up to 300 feet away. People hit with one of these seeds (Which are around 3 inches in diameter) can be seriously injured. The only warning you’ll get is the sound the pod makes—hence the nickname of dynamite tree.
Oh, yeah, the seeds are flat and hooked. Like knives. So basically this tree shoots high speed razors at your face, and the only indication that you’ll be stabbed by tens of tiny death blades is the sound of someone shooting a gun 300 feet away.
On top of all that, every part of the tree is poisonous. If you’re foolish enough to eat the seeds, you run the risk of dying. Two is all you need! If you don’t die, you experience cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, delusions, and convulsions!
The tree also produces a sap on its trunks as a second defense mechanism. Should the spikes not deter predators, the sap will. It causes inflammation, skin irritation, and temporary blindness if it gets in the eyes. The sap is used a poison for hunting. The leaves aren’t as poisonous, and can have medicinal uses. Leaves can grow up to two feet in length. The leaves and bark are used as ingredients for hallucinogenic drinks.
The tree is native to tropical regions, and can be found in parts of Mexico and the tropical rainforest.