AU: The 'world's most dangerous' shrub, the 'suicide plant'

One innocent-looking plant harbors an agonizing secret, as a single brush of its leaves is enough to cause excruciating pain for months.

The Dendrocnide Moroides is known as "the world's most dangerous plant," with even morphine rendered ineffective against its venom, Nature reports. The shrub has numerous names including the Gympie Gympie, Stinging Bush, Queensland Stinger and the Giant Australian Stinging Tree. It has also been called the "suicide plant," website Discovery noted.

Like one of its names suggests, the plant is native to the rain forests of Australia, and can grow up to 115 feet tall. It delivers a painful sting via tiny hairs covering the leaves and stem, which inject venom into the skin. Nature explained: "When a passer-by brushes against the tree, the needles can inject their skin with a venom causing intense pain that sometimes lasts months and resists even morphine."

Explaining more about the shrub, Sciences Advances said: "Australia notoriously harbors some of the world's most venomous animals, but although less well known, its venomous flora is equally remarkable. "Of the six Dendrocnide species native to the subtropical and tropical forests of Eastern Australia, D. excelsa (lit. tall stinging tree) and D. moroides (lit. mulberry-like stinging tree) are particularly notorious for producing excruciatingly painful stings, which—unlike those of their European and North American relatives—can cause symptoms that last for days or weeks in extreme cases.

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