A British gardener has installed a cage inside his house to house what is believed to be the most poisonous plant in the world.
Daniel Emlyn-Jones, 49, has decided to grow the famous gympie-gympie – usually found in Australia – at his home in Oxford, where he is kept in a locked cage marked with a ‘danger’ sign “.
Gympie-gympie – also known as the “Australian stinging tree” – is a nettle-like shrub that is said to be capable of causing a sting such as “being burned with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time”.
People stung by the plant will feel the pain intensify quickly – and it can last for days or even months.
Victims may experience loss of sleep due to the severe pain, and in some cases victims will develop swelling and may need to be hospitalized.
However, online tutor Emlyn-Jones isn’t swayed by the dangers and decided to order seeds from Australia to host the plant at home – although he handles it with elbow-length gloves as a precaution.
He told the Oxford Mail: “I just thought it would add a bit of drama to my gardening…
“If you understand it, it’s probably not a good idea, but I was slightly bitten by the piece of fabric on the back of my heavy-duty gloves up to the elbows and it wasn’t terrible…
“I keep the cage locked though, and I keep the sheets away from the bars as if someone got too close and brushed against it, that would be quite risky.”
Emlyn-Jones said he wanted to promote interest in plants by cultivating unique flora, adding, “I don’t want to be a loon. I do it safely.
Gympie-gympie, also known as dendrocnid moroides, is a plant in the nettle family Urticaceae and found in rainforest areas of Malaysia and Australia.
If touched for even a second, tiny hair-like needles will produce a burning sensation, while victims have reported being sent into fits of sneezing, developing allergies, getting rashes massive red spots and have their limbs swollen painfully.
Researchers at the University of Queensland recently found that the plant produces a neurotoxin similar to that of a spider, while treatment includes using depilatory wax or tape to remove hair from the skin.
The plant was discovered in her native Australia when a road surveyor’s horse was stung by her in 1866.
Despite the dangers of the plant, there has been only one confirmed death attributed to a species of beetle – in New Guinea in 1922.