Danger! Manchineel trees ... don't let them spoil your vacation in Barbados
Manchineel trees grace Barbados beaches providing shade from the blazing sun for locals and tourists alike as they enjoy themselves on the beach.
Those magnificent shade trees with their little apples are probably the most dangerous thing they'll encounter on their vacation in Barbados.
The tree grows up to 45' in height, it has a dark gray bark with shiny green leaves and produces small white-green flowers.
The apples are green when young turning a greenish-yellow with a pleasant sweet smelling fragrance when they ripen.
The leaves, bark, sap and apple like fruit of the Manchineel are all poisonous.
Contact with any of these will cause severe blistering or burning of the skin.
These trees are poisonous
This is what the fruit looks like.
Eating the fruit of the Manchineel which has a pleasant smell and sweet taste can cause death, just tasting it will cause blistering and swelling of the throat.
Get medical attention right away if this happens to you.
The big danger is that all parts of the tree can cause problems, even burning the leaves and inhaling the sap filled smoke causes blistering of the skin or even getting the smoke in the eyes can cause blindness.
The trees are found near beaches in most if not all of the Caribbean islands and South America.
The Manchineel is useful in that it provides a natural windbreak and it's roots help to stop beach erosion by stabilizing the surrounding land.
One more tip, if you're on the beach and it rains do not take shelter under Manchineel trees as the water dripping from the leaves can cause blistering of the skin.
If you have children it's a good idea to find out from a local person which trees to keep them away from so you enjoy a safe vacation in Barbados.