Gympie Gympie Ouchy Ouchy: Worlds Most Venomous Plant?

by BobinOz on April 27, 2012

in Australia's Bad Things

When I was a small child, playing in the fields, parks and the countryside of the UK, there was one plant that we always had to make sure that we didn’t “literally” bump into.

The stinging nettle.

Yes, stinging nettles, object of great fear and source of enormous pain. As much as we knew about them, as often as we were warned, inevitably somebody would get stung.

Ouchy ouchy!

If, somehow, you would fall into a whole bunch of stinging nettles, there would be many ouchy ouchies! And sometimes tears.

But now I am a grown adult and I live in Australia. No more fear of stinging nettles. That fear has been replaced by…

The Fear of the Gympie Gympie

Gympie Gympie Gympie Gympie Ouchy Ouchy: Worlds Most Venomous Plant?“Dendrocnide moroides, also known as the Gympie Gympie, moonlighter, or stinger, is a large shrub native to rainforest areas in north-eastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia. It is best known for stinging hairs which cover the whole plant and deliver a potent neurotoxin when touched. It is the most virulent species of stinging tree.”

Source: Wikipedia
 

This is one of the world’s most venomous plants, capable of killing dogs, horses and humans. If it doesn’t kill you, expect months of excruciating pain. On the Australian Geographic website about the plant, they describe the pain as “like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time..”

The plant is relatively common in Queensland; but it is rare to see them in the southernmost part of the state. That makes me very happy, because that’s where I live. Gympie, by the way, is a Queensland town about 170 km North of Brisbane.

Now, I’m not sure if you get this chap on a TV near you, but here we sometimes have a program called Bite Me With Dr Mike Leahy. He describes himself as a virologist; I’d be more inclined to describe him as a nutter!

He allows dangerous critters and creatures to sting or bite him so that he can experience the pain. Now he is also including plants.

Here is the nutter, sorry, virologist, stinging himself on a Gympie Gympie….

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

beenamanu April 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

bob,
actually thanks for the description about these plants…….a lots of child hood memories are marching in my mind…….we are afraid of these plants once ….( now also ha ha ha…) after a long years now I see that in your photos…..here in kerala ,in our mother tongue Malayalam we say as ‘chorithanam’ means itching plant or biting plant…….

my God what a man that mike !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
wish all the best and nice days…..here heavy rain n thundering out side……so today is not the best day

warm regards
beena

Reply

BobinOz April 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm

“Itching plant”? Itching! You must all be pretty tough out there in Kerala :-)

Thanks beena!

Reply

Liv April 29, 2012 at 12:01 am

Stinging nettles – eh? How easy we had it, growing up in England!

Reply

BobinOz April 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Seemed tough when I was eight years old, those things were painful! And wasps! Scary!!

And now I live in Australia :-)

Reply

maree May 15, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Well im glad that there not in Gympie as thats where my father in law lives too. I hate stinging nettles, odd you can drink them though.

Reply

BobinOz May 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Maybe we could make a drink Of the Gympie Gympie?

Reply

Sede May 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I live in Nagaland, North-East India, & there is a very similar venomous plant here. We call it ‘pfhiipedi.’ I had actualy touched it’s seed/flower petal, & my hands felt like being burnt for 1 week!!

Reply

BobinOz June 1, 2012 at 12:04 am

Hi Sede

Yes, beenamanu from Kerala says they have them there too. So obviously this plant is in India. You need to get all those little hairs out otherwise it will keep on giving you problems.

Sounds painful!

Reply

Zazel March 17, 2014 at 7:24 am

I planted stinging nettle under a basement window under my garage. The window could be easy to access for break-ins. Nothing in there but with the nettle there, anyone crawling around where they shouldn’t be will be taking a souvenir with them. Much better looking than bars. Just have to watch when the plant goes to seed or it can spread to places you don’t want it growing.

Reply

BobinOz March 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Interesting home security plan, what could possibly go wrong? :-)

Reply

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