THE MANCHINEEL TREE: “THE LITTLE APPLES OF DEATH”
“Manchineel” is an Anglicization of the Spanish “manzanilla” or “little apple,” based on the resemblance between Manchineel fruits and unripe apples. The apple connection ends there, however, as no matter how sour or tart a particular apple species might be, they won’t cause you to suffer severe gastroenteritis, intestinal bleeding, or respiratory edema—not even a Granny Smith will hurt you that bad. Hippomane mancinella is one of the most poisonous trees in the world, to the point that if you stand underneath a Manchineel tree during a rainstorm you’re likely to develop severe skin blisters just from the diluted sap running off the branches. Native Caribbeans tipped their arrows and spears with Manchineel sap to ensure painful death from even slight wounds, and their preferred method of execution was to tie victims to the trunk of the tree, ensuring a slow and horrifically painful death over a period of days. So yeah, don’t mistake these for apple trees, ever.