10 Exotic Fruits You Didn’t Know Can Kill You

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Some of your favorite fruits can quickly become deadly if ingested in large amounts. Many fruits and their seeds contain trace levels of cyanide and other poisons that can cause extreme discomfort or even have fatal consequences. Lucky for you, we’ve created this list so you’ll know what to watch out for.

10. Yellow Star Fruit

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Yellow star fruit is both beautiful and delicious, but as little as 100ml can be deadly for people suffering from kidney problems. The fruit contains a deadly neurotoxin that can have adverse effects on the body’s nerves and brain. While people with healthy kidneys have no problem filtering out the neurotoxin, those with bad kidneys can’t process it. There have been many reported cases of people suffering from kidney diseases and dialysis patients experiencing extreme poisoning after ingestion of star fruit. Symptoms of star fruit poisoning include vomiting, weakness, intractable hiccups, psycho-motor agitation and mental confusion. Some of the scarier symptoms include death, coma and very long-lasting epileptic seizures. Treatment for star fruit poisoning can be quite tricky because scientists have been unable to officially identify the toxin that makes it deadly.

9. Ackee

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The ackee is a native West African fruit that’s also the national fruit of Jamaica. It’s derived from the ackee tree, a huge tropical evergreen that grows to over 40 feet in height. Though the ackee fruit is a staple in Jamaican diets, it’s extremely poisonous if improperly eaten. Eating unripened ackee fruit can cause Jamaican vomiting sickness, which can ultimately lead to a coma or death. The ackee is poisonous because in contains hypoglycerin, and thus handlers must be careful when preparing the ackee pods for eating. In fact, the ackee should not be eaten until the ackee’s protective outer pods open naturally and turn red.

8. Elderberries

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Elderberries, the beautiful dark blue berries that hang from the bright red branches of the elderberry tree, are a staple in jellies, jams, wine and tea. They’re more prevalent in Europe, but have been known to pop-up in popular North American imports. While tasty, the berries are also feared for their poisonous elements. The leaves, seeds and twigs of the elderberry plant contain glycoside, a substances that creates cyanide. Depending on the concentration of glycoside, you could be in a lot of pain upon ingestion. Some of the typical symptoms of elderberry poisoning include coma, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. However, though all parts of the elderberry are poisonous, the plant typically has a low toxicity level.

7. Apricot Seeds

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The apricot is a delicious and healthy fruit, but you have to look out for the seeds. Ironically, many believe that apricot seeds can and have been used to cure cancer. This is because the seeds have high levels of vitamin B17, which is an immune system booster. As a result, apricot seeds can be purchased in large quantities at your local health food store or online. The easy purchase of apricot seeds has created a cause for alarm because consuming large doses can be fatal. Their deadly nature is the result of cyanide contained within its seeds.

6. Manchineel

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The manchineel is a round fruit about the size of a tangerine native to Mexico and the Caribbean. It’s also known as the “beach apple” and can be quite tasty, but both the fruit and its tree are extremely dangerous even when they make simple contact with you. Ingestion of the fruit can almost immediately bring about esophageal and oral ulcerations as well as severe edema. Furthermore, cervical pain can result when the toxin contained within the manichineel is drained into the regional lymph nodes. When the milky sap from the manichineel tree touches skin it can cause burns, blistering and inflammation. This species of tree also produces contact dermatitis. Even the simple burning of the manichineel tree can cause extreme eye irritation. Caribbean Aboriginals even used to dip their arrows in the sap of the manichineel tree to create a vicious poison.

5. European Spindle Tree

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The European spindle tree is a little known plant that provides lots of food for birds and insects. Some of its other uses include the creation of high quality charcoal colors for artists. The tree can be found throughout woodland areas, and is quite beautiful. However, you should never take a bite of a spindle tree’s fruits, no matter how tempting. Both the tree and its fruit have purgative capabilities that are used to combat extreme indigestion. A few drops of spindle tree and everything in your stomach has to go! Large doses can result in extreme and excessive stomach pain. Some of the other symptoms of spindle tree poisoning include nausea and diarrhea. So don’t ingest more than three seeds unless you’re looking to clear your stomach and experience extreme pain!

4. Pangium Edule Fruit

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This little known tropical fruit grows from a large tree and is poisonous to humans because of the levels of hydrogen cyanide contained within it. It’s rightfully earned the name “the fruit that nauseates.” The leaves and seeds, once safely prepared, are enjoyed in a variety of dishes. One way the fruit is eaten is by boiling the seeds without their shells, which are then either soaked in water or buried in banana leaves for months. This allows the cyanide to be released, although the cyanide is often harvested to create poison. Some of the symptoms of pangium edule fruit poisoning include coma, headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion and weakness. Consumption of high levels of pangium edule fruit can result in cardiac arrest or even death.

3. Jatropha Fruit

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India and several other countries have reported several cases where both children and adults have been hospitalized after ingesting the jatropha fruit and experiencing symptoms of acute jartopha poisoning. The extreme pain the jatropha fruit can cause is so famous that the fruit has earned the names “purge nut” and “black vomit nut.” Upon ingestion, people can experience a burning in the throat, as well as acute abdominal pain. These symptoms are followed by vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Severe symptoms, including cardiovascular collapse and dehydration, can be fatal. Fatal symptoms occur because the jatropha can cause hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. If these symptoms are not treated, severe central nervous system depression can also result.

2. Yew Berry Tree

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This tree has gorgeous blood red berries and can be found throughout North America, Europe and parts of the Middle East. The yew tree looks innocent — it’s just a typical shrub with green leaves. But while the bright red berries themselves aren’t poisonous, the bark, seeds and leaves are known for decimating livestock and can also be deadly to humans. Less severe symptoms of yew berry poisoning include diarrhea, headache, dizziness, muscle weakness, stomach pain, vomiting, trembling and dilated pupils, while the scarier symptoms include extreme difficulty breathing, coma, convulsions, irregular heartbeat and, of course, death.

1. Strychnine Fruit Plant

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The strychnine plant is native to Australia and southern Asia. This plant’s fruit is so deadly that it’s been used to create a poison for centuries throughout the world. The poison is derived from the seeds of the strychnine fruit, and even a tiny amount can cause death. Dried strychnine seeds can cause severe stomach pain, high blood pressure, and cardiac failure. Less severe symptoms include heightened senses of smell, touch, hearing and vision, which have caused the seeds to be abused as a recreational drug.


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