We talk a good game about how Hamilton products are engineered to be incredibly powerful (they are). But we’ll be the first to admit that our casters and carts have nothing on nature’s grit and ingenuity. Take Australia’s gympie-gympie shrub, which has been called one of the world’s deadliest plants. It might look harmless to the casual passer-by. However, contact with its heart-shaped leaves causes excruciating pain that can last for months and even years.
Just how bad is it? When mountain biker Naomi Lewis accidentally slid into the plant, it covered her legs in hairs and inflicted “beyond unbearable” pain that caused her to vomit. She spent a week recovering in the hospital. Nine months later, she could still feel the after-effects of sharp pains in her legs.
Botanist Marina Hurley says the deadly plant’s sting feels "like being burned by hot acid and electrocuted at the same time." There are famous tales of a WWII military officer who tried to use its leaf as toilet paper and ended up shooting himself to end his misery. Maybe that’s why the gympie-gympie’s nickname is “The Suicide Plant.” Its toxin has even been reported to be considered for use in chemical warfare.
Perhaps most horrifying, direct contact with the plant’s toxic nettles isn’t necessary to feel the effects. The gympie-gympie’s poisonous hairs are so fine and fuzzy that they can be blown by the wind onto unsuspecting victims nearby.
We’ll be planning our next vacation in the Caribbean, thanks.