While hiking around this island there are a few
plants which it would be wise to be able to recognize ... and avoid...
This is known as Christmas bush
You definitely want to stay away from this one. It can produce a very nasty,
And then there's the tree near the shoreland
areas that has a nice looking small yellow fruit: the Manchineel
Tree. Its sap and fruit are very
toxic. You definitely want to avoid getting the sap on your skin
or in your eyes. Temporary blindness is possible with eye contact.
The fruit of the Manchineel tree should not be touched or eaten.
Usually found near the beach, offering wonderful
shade (don't be
fooled!) and golden apples, the Manchineel tree is very dangerous!
Columbus recorded the first record of its poisonous nature, after
his men had died after their encounter with it. One should not
picnic under it or handle the broken vegetation. The sap can cause
blindness if gotten into the eyes, and severe burns on the skin
elsewhere. It is noted that the Saladoid Indians used the poison
from the tree
on their arrows. The leaves are simple, alternate, and glossy,
with pointed tips, rounded base, and smooth or slightly toothed
The veins have similar parts arranged on each side with a single
conspicuous main vein, which "bleeds" a milky sap in
young foliage, if broken. Each tree carries both a male and female
flower, usually inconspicuous. The "apples", which are
very poisonous, however, are usually plentiful. They are about
1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter and green, turning yellow before
dropping, with the odor of apples. Inside is a large pithy pulp
with a single large, bumpy, wood-like seed at the center.
The Manchineel fruit
The leaves up close
One might also mention all the various white-sap cactus as the sap is similar to the manchineel,
and then there are the Jack Spaniard wasp and the Brown
Recluse spider are all desirous to avoid.