GYMPIE GYMPIE: THE TREE OF PAIN
Informed visitors to Australia are well aware that every animal on the continent is ready, willing and able to kill you. From the tiny Irukandji jellyfish to the famously muscular kangaroo, all the way up to actual Australian people who are all descendants from convicts, you have to be careful. With all the animal life on Australia being terrifyingly deadly, it’s easy to forget that Australia is home to the most virulent and painful species of stinging tree. Dendrocnide moroides (AKA “gympie gympie” or “moonlighter”) is covered with tiny silica stingers that are almost impossible to remove from the flesh, all of which contain a powerful neurotoxin easily capable of killing dogs and horses and causing excruciating pain to humans. There’s at least one story (backed up by scientific and medical reports) that tells of an unlucky Australian soldier who used a gympie-gympie leaf as toilet paper and then, unable to tolerate the pain, blew out his brains with his service revolver. So yeah, when you’re in Australia, watch your ass, figuratively and literally.