CERBERA ODOLLAM: THE SUICIDE TREE
Most of the plants on this list have a common name that only just hints at how it might be dangerous, but the popular nickname of Cerbera odollam—the “Suicide Tree”—is refreshingly honest about how it only exists to kill you. Native to Southern Asia in general and the Kerala province of India in particular, Cerbera odollam contains a powerful cardiac toxin that can easily be hidden in spicy food (and anybody who’s eaten Indian food knows that the spiciest food is the best food) and is extremely difficult to detect in autopsies. A French toxicologist team once determined that half of all plant deaths (and a tenth of all poisoning deaths) in Kerala were due to Cerbera poisoning, casting doubt on a number of accidental or suicidal death cases. In fact, considering how easy it is to sneak Cerbera poisons into Kerala cuisine and how many people died in suspicious circumstances as a result, it’s probably more accurate to refer to Cerbera odollam as the Homicide Tree.