The “Suicide Plant” Has the Most Painful Stingers in the World

Marina is not alone in her allergic reaction to this innocent-looking plant – one of six stinging-tree species found in Australia, and one of the most poisonous plants here – or her dramatic accounts.

Proliferating in rainforest clearings, along creek-lines and small tracks, the Gympie-Gympie stinging tree (Dendrocnide excelsa) has long been a hazard for foresters, surveyors and timber workers – some of whom are today supplied with respirators, thick gloves and anti-histamine tablets as a precaution. More recently, the hairs covering the plant’s stems, leaves and fruits have also posed a danger to scientists and bushwalkers.