The Tree With Exploding Seeds


The sandbox tree is among the largest trees of tropical America, but it’s their pumpkin-shaped seeds that draw attention to them. That’s because the seeds explode with a deafening noise, scattering the seeds at speeds of up to 150 mph for distances of over 60 feet. The shrapnel can seriously injure a person or animal in its path. As bad as that is, the exploding seed pods aren’t the only way a sandbox tree can inflict harm. The fruit of the sandbox tree is poisonous, causing vomiting, diarrhea and cramps if ingested. The tree sap is said to cause an angry red rash, and it can blind you if it gets in your eyes. In fact, the sap has been used to make poisonous darts. Oddly enough, parts of the tree are actually used for medicinal purposes. Oil extracted from the seeds acts as a laxative, the leaves are said to treat eczema, and the extracts are said to treat intestinal worms. DO NOT try any of these remedies at home. The trees grow nearly 100 feet tall and are about 3½ feet around, and the trunk is studded with short, cone-shaped spikes. With the sandbox tree being considered one of the most dangerous plants in the world, they’re definitely not suitable for home landscapes — or any landscape for that matter.