The stinging tree belongs to the detachment of nettles and, like all of us wellknown grass, is able to “sting”. But, unlike ordinary nettles, burns after touching the leaves of wood can lead to death.
Description of the species
This plant is a shrub. In adulthood, it reaches a height of two meters. The basis are thick stems that frames the heartshaped leaves. The largest sheets have a length of 22 centimeters. The stinging tree is not divided into male and female species. At the time of flowering on the stems there are flowers of both sexes.
After flowering, fruits begin to develop in place of inflorescences. They are very similar to berries and are one bone surrounded by pulp. The berry is characterized by a high content of juice and looks like the fruits of a mulberry tree.
Where the stinging tree grows?
This is a tropical plant that loving hot and wet climate. The classic area of growth is the Australian continent, the Molucca Islands, as well as the territory of Indonesia.
As well as nettles, the stinging tree often “settles” in the places of former cuts, forest conflagrations, areas with a large number of fallen trees. It can also be found in open areas, which most of the day are flooded with bright sunlight.
The poisonous of the thorns
Surely each of us at least once experienced a burn from touching nettles. There are many thin hairs on its stems, which, when exposed to them, are distinguished under the skin of burning substances. The stinging tree does about the same, only the composition of the eminent juice of a completely different.
Touching the leaves or stems of this shrub leads to a strong poison from the skin. Its composition has not been fully studied, however, it is known that the basis is Moroidine, Octapeptide, Triptophanes and other substances, as well as chemical elements.
The action of the protective composition of the stinging tree is very strong. After contact with it, red spots begin to form on the skin, subsequently merging into a large and very painful tumor. Depending on the strength of the body and the development of the immune system, it can be observed from several days to several months.
As a rule, dogs and horses die from burns of stinging wood, but deaths are known among people. Along with this, some animals feed on the leaves and fruits of the stinging tree, without any damage for themselves. These are several species of kangaroo, insects and birds.