We've all got stinging nettle burns at least once in our lives. Not the most pleasant plant, especially when you get into its bushes. It will sting so that it will not seem a little. But these are still flowers. In New Zealand, the nettle tree grows, which stings so hard that after meeting it, breathing difficulties, temporary muscle paralysis and impaired vision occur. And even 1 fatal case was recorded.
In New Zealand, approximately 75 people a year require hospital treatment after encountering this plant. The fatal case was recorded only once, in 1961, when, on Thanksgiving Day, two young men stumbled upon small thickets of this plant while hunting and received many burns on their hands and feet. Within an hour, one of them developed breathing difficulties, partially paralyzed the muscles of his legs, and then lost his sight. He was urgently taken to the hospital, where he died 5 hours later. The second young man also had similar symptoms, but he recovered. Often people stung by a nettle tree feel unwell for 2-3 days, but then recover.
The tree trunk of this tree can reach a height of 5 meters, but most often there are 2-meter thickets. Its branches and leaves are covered with many white poisonous spines (flagella), about 6 mm in length, which contain formic acid and histamine. At the slightest touch, they break and remain on the skin, introducing toxins. Therefore, even the slightest touch to them causes severe burns, which are accompanied by throbbing pain in the affected areas.
Many horses and dogs have died because of the nettle tree. Why is this tree such a terrible weapon? It is assumed that the high content of toxic substances and toxins in some plants is necessary in order to repel the attacks of parasites, insects and mammals who want to eat them. But it turns out that ongaonga is not as invulnerable as it seems at first. Yet there is one insect for which the nettle tree poses no danger. These are the larvae of the Red Admiral butterfly. For them, the leaves of this tree are the main food.