The toxin from the Gympie Gympis is inserted via fine hairs and is quick acting. It’s said that wax strips can help remove the hairs.

    Photo Credit: Neil Ennis/flickr

    The Gympie Gympie tree can grow to into full-sized trees.

     

    Image: www.floragreatlakes.info

    Photo Credit: barryaceae/flickr

    A Gympie Gympie stinging tree (Dendrocnide moroides) has a toxin so powerful it’s “like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time”, says entomologist Marina Hurley.

    Photo Credit: Rainer Wunderlich/Wikimedia

    Flowers of the Gympie Gympie stinging plant, at Lake Eucham, in Far North Queensland. The stinging tree’s habitat is tropical rainforest.

    Photo Credit: Dick vanToorn/Wikimedia

    In local folklore horses jumped in agony off cliffs and forestry workers drinking themselves silly to dull the intractable pain from the sting of the Gympie Gympie.

    Image: www.flickr.com/photos/34326029@N08

    Photo Credit: Tony Markham/Flickr

    North Queensland road surveyor A.C. Macmillan was among the first to document the effects of a stinging tree, reporting to his boss in 1866 that his packhorse “was stung, got mad, and died within two hours”.

    Photo Credit: Cgoodwin/Wikimedia

    The Gympie Gympie is one of six stinging-tree species found in Australia

    Image: www.flickr.com/photos/tony_rodd

    Photo Credit: Tony Rodd/Flickr

    So swollen was Les Moore after being stung across the face several years ago that he said he resembled Mr Potato Head.

    “I think I went into anaphylactic shock and it took days for my sight to recover,” said Les, a scientific officer with the CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology in Queensland.


    Image: www.flickr.com/photos/tony_rodd

    Photo Credit: Tony Rodd/Flickr

    Writing to Marina in 1994, Australian ex-serviceman Cyril Bromley described falling into a stinging tree during mili­tary training on the tableland in World War II. Strapped to a hospital bed for three weeks and administered all manner of unsuccessful treatments, he was sent “as mad as a cut snake” by the pain. Cyril also told of an officer shooting himself after using a stinging-tree leaf for “toilet purposes”.

    Image: www.flickr.com/photos/tony_rodd

    Photo Credit: Tony Rodd/Flickr

    A close-up image of the Gympie Gympie plant, showing the fine hairs that are the culprits of the intense pain.

     

    Image: www.flickr.com/photos/72842252@N04

    Photo Credit: Steve and Alison Pearson Airlie Beach

    Proliferating in rainforest clearings, along creek-lines and small tracks, the Gympie-Gympie stinging tree (Dendrocnide moroides) 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.

    Image: www.flickr.com/photos/34326029@N08

    Photo Credit: Tony Markham/Flickr

Gallery: Gympie-Gympie: stings like “hot acid”

By AG STAFF | January 22, 2014

One small touch and this stinging plant sends you into excruciating pain.