When they say ‘everything in Australia is out to kill you’, they’re really not messing around. We bet you’ve heard of all the deadly crocodiles and poisonous spiders from the land down under. But how many of you know about a a plant that could make you wish you were dead?
The dendrocnide moroides is a deadly plant common to north-east Australian rainforests. It’s also known as the suicide plant because it has a sting so agonising that it’s said to have made a man kill himself after being stung.
Also known as the stinging bush, gympie gympie or the moonlighter, this plant is covered with stinging hairs that deliver a highly potent neorotoxin. It’s a poisonous sting that causes excruciating pain to the human body even though it has no adverse reaction in certain birds and insects.
The treatment for a dendrocnide moroides sting involves removal of the plant’s stinging hairs with a wax strip and treating the affected skin with diluted hydrochloric acid.
The pain from the sting, however, can last for as long as two years and they say it’s so unbearable, it once drove a man to suicide.
“For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so. The stinging persisted for two years and recurred every time I had a cold shower. … There’s nothing to rival it; it’s ten times worse than anything else.”
Even if nothing about Australia ever did scare you much, I bet this made you shudder.