Exotic And Abundant
From being as rare as only found in the Amazon to being commonly found in your garden, these trees should be avoided.
They either have poisonous leaves, deadly spikes, or heavy seeds that could concuss an adult. Rather stay away from these trees.
The Holly Tree
This one is as common as any tree walking down a busy city street.
People use it as Christmas decorations, but the berries of the holly plant are toxic—not only to dogs, but also to other animals and children. These berries remain attached to the plant while it’s still fresh, but as the plant dries, the berries loosen and may fall off of your décor and onto the floor.
The Sandbox Tree
Considered one of the most dangerous plants in the world, the sandbox tree isn’t suitable for home landscapes, or any landscape actually.
The sap is poisonous and can cause nasty rashes. Bizarrely, when the fruit of the sandbox matures, it explodes, sending seeds in all directions at upwards of 160 miles per hour! This has led some folks to refer to it as the dynamite tree.
More About It
You can easily recognize the tree by its grey bark covered with cone-shaped spikes. The tree has distinctly different male and female flowers.
It only grows in frost-free areas and needs a moist sandy loam soil. It does well in zones 10 and 11. Long ago, colonists in the British West Indies would use the empty seed capsules as sandboxes for blotting ink
This dangerous tree is an evergreen, part of the spurge family. There are two species; Hura crepitans
and H. polyandra.
They are native primarily to the tropical parts of South America, Mexico and the Amazonian rain forest; occasionally found in tropical parts of North America. In addition, the sandbox tree was introduced into Tanzania in Eastern Africa, where it is now considered an invasive species.
With the nickname “Death Apple Tree”, it doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to figure out what’s going on.
There are stories of the South American tribes using the fruit’s poison on the tips of darts and arrows as well as using them to poison the Spanish invader’s water supply.
The Stinging Tree
This tree is a “Dendrocnide”. It can grow up to 131 feet, and it has hairs that can cause a severe reaction on the skin.
All aerial parts of the tree have stinging hairs (imagine tiny hypodermic needles), and can cause a severe reaction on contact with skin, so it is a hazard to livestock, travelers and campers.
The Jabuticabeira Imposter
Jabuticabeira is a Brazilian tree that grows its fruits on its trunks which look like tasty berries.
But it’s not this tree that’s the issue. These fruits are totally edible and very tasty. The problem comes from another black-fruit tree that non-experts might confuse if they’re being careless – or lost and starving…
Younglings might see black bulbs and treats, but things like Pokeweed.
Many parts of this tree and its fruit are very poisonous. But people still eat them! This is only possible because a few individuals know how to cook it to remove toxins. If not, you’ll end up in the emergency room.
Chestnuts are delicious treats that we hear about in Christmas songs.
The the “horse” versions should be avoided at all costs. In general, toxic horse chestnuts should not be consumed by people, horses or other livestock. You’ll find them growing across the U.S., but they originally come from Europe’s Balkan region.
The Bunya Pine
This tree — although not one of the most poisonous trees — can certainly be deadly.
Historically, however, it has also given life to its surroundings. It has existed since dinosaurs roamed the earth and is now found almost exclusively in Queensland Australia. Every few years, bunya pine trees are known to drop extremely large cones
weighing up to 40 pounds each.
The strychnine tree is a medium-sized evergreen tree with a short, thick crooked trunk, reaching a height of about 12 meters (36 feet).
The berries contain the disk-like seeds that yield the poisonous substance strychnine. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Seeds and roots possess a very bitter taste.
The Shipworm Confusion
This is another example of species confusion.
They are marine bivalve molluscs: a group of saltwater clams with long, soft, naked bodies. They are well-known for boring into (and eventually destroying) wood that is immersed in sea water, including such structures as wooden piers, docks and ships. But what about the other ones?
These creatures are eaten as delicacy, but that doesn’t mean all worms can go in a bowl.
There are parasitic wasp pods and certain caterpillars that also burrow into trees. They can actually turn the wood around them into something that could range from a skin irritant to a caustic disaster.
Wild Cherry Trees
Cherry trees, believe it or not, are somewhat toxic in all parts of the tree except the fruit, and only then when it is ripe.
The seeds, leaves, and bark all contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause anxiety, headaches, vomiting, and dizziness. In very severe cases, poisoning can even lead to death.
Despite its name, poison oak is not, in fact, a tree, but a vine or shrub.
It is extremely common in Western North America, being found on hiking trails all up and down our coast. You can recognize it by its distinctive scalloped leaflets, which are grouped in threes on the branches.
Nimbian Bottle Tree
Also called the “bottle tree”, it is a species of plant included in the genus Pachypodium.
This species can be either a shrub or a tree up to 6 meters tall and is characterized by the thick bottle-shaped trunk, which is almost branchless until the top. The branches are few and covered by slender thorns up to 30 cm long. But what makes it dangerous?
The locals not only use the sap as poison for their darts and arrows, but they also use it for an interesting hunting purpose.
Birds that get sick and perish from the toxins make for easy hunting. Let’s just hope that the poison doesn’t transfer to the person who eats it!
This tree is found along tidal streams, or on the margins of tidal salt meadows. It grows mainly in the tropics and subtropics.
It oozes a milky sap that’s very dangerous even to touch. Locals know not to even climb them, otherwise they’ll end up with intense skin irritation, blisters, and temporary blindness (if it gets in their eyes).
The Common Yew
Everything about this tree is deadly.
The leaves and bark are poisonous. So is the wood, but what makes it more mind-bending is that the wood gets MORE poisonous after it’s cut and dry. The berries are NOT poisonous but the little seeds inside them are deadly. Just stay away from them!