The Manchineel is a flowering plant in the spurge family. It has also been nicknamed in Spanish as the "little apple of death." The tree is very toxic because of its milky-white sap which contains many toxins. The tree also produces a fruit which resembles a greenish-yellow apple.
The Manchineel is found in specific places in North and South America, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas. In the U.S. the Manchineel is only found in the state of Florida in the Florida Keys and Everglades.
The tree is found near the coast and grows in brackish water. It can grow as high as 50 feet tall. Although it is considered to be an endangered species in Florida, it can grow in clusters and it does not depend on birds and animals to spread its seeds. Rather, it drops its fruit into the water and gradually the seeds are dispersed when the fruit rots.
The tree is so dangerous that its location is often marked with a warning sign. It is recommended that humans do not eat, touch or even breathe near the tree. All parts of the Manchineel are considered to be extremely poisonous.
Touching the sap of the tree causes blisters on the skin. Even the smoke of the tree's burning wood can cause temporary blindness of the eyes. Atlhough no fatalities have been reported in the literature, there is no doubt that the tree could cause fatalities.