The words “badass” and “plants” are so seldom seen together, this sentence is an endangered species. However, nature has a habit of reaching into people’s nightmares and plucking out ideas for things it could totally throw into the real world. Which is the only explanation we can think of for the existence of things like …
10. Drosera Capensis – Cape Sundew
Though arguably very pretty, sporting delicate pink flowers and a sweet scent, the Cape Sundew plant is still what you’d get if you combined an octopus’s tentacle and the screams of every child in the world.
The Sundew is one of the few plants on Earth that eats meat — more specifically, insects. If you think that’s awesome, it is. But unlike more well-known carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap, the Cape Sundew kills its prey in open air, allowing it to see sweet, enveloping freedom as it is slowly dissolved. That’s unnecessarily hardcore for something you could kill with a pair of scissors.
9. Hippomane Mancinella – The Manchineel Tree
The Manchineel tree holds the unimpressive record of the world’s most dangerous tree. We say unimpressive because we don’t think anything can be considered dangerous if the method of avoiding it is sitting down and playing Nintendo.
OK fine, that last sentence is a lie, because these trees have the potential to straight up murder you. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, just standing beneath the Manchineel tree while it’s raining will cause you to break out in blisters. Did you read that correctly? This tree has water on its side. That’s 1/4 of the elements. If you were in Ancient Greece right now, you’d be screwed.
Along with this, the tree’s fruit is pretty much fatal. We know this because apparently, hungry people still decide to eat the fruit from the horrible, burning, homicidal pain tree.
8. Ficus – The Fig Tree
The only danger a fig tree poses to a human being is if it falls on top of you while you’re doing press-ups over a knife. However, if you’re a wasp, the fig tree is the thing you check under your tiny wasp bed for at night.
You see, fig trees pretty much rely on wasps to pollinate the; as such, they’ve specifically evolved to make sure that if that doesn’t happen, the wasp will feel its figgy wrath. So how does a tree with less movement options than Stephen Hawking’s chess pieces harm a creature with 3 more axes of movement than it does? Well, it attacks its children. If a wasp doesn’t pollinate the tree, but still tries to lays its young in the tree’s fruit, the tree somehow knows this and, in retaliation, it will prematurely drop the fruit, killing the wasp’s babies. Jeez!
7. Puya Chilensis – The Sheep Eater
This plant doesn’t really have a colloquial name, but we feel like our choice of “the sheep eater” is a worthy candidate.
The plant itself doesn’t eat the sheep (since that would be stupid,) but it does trap them in its spines, causing them to trip and become ensnared. When the animal eventually dies and decomposes, it becomes food for the plant. Now, we’re going to pose a question for you all: what’s more terrifying, an animal that kills its prey outright and quickly eats it, or a plant — a thing that has no mind or feelings — tripping up an innocent animal and growing stronger as it starves and poops itself to death.
We thought so.
6. Euphorbia Resinifera – Resin Spurge
The Resin Spurge is a tiny Moroccan cactus that we love purely for letting us type the words “tiny Moroccan cactus.” Now, for the most part, cacti are only dangerous if you try and shove one in your pants or something. But it’s not the outside of the resin spurge that makes it awesomely badass, it’s the inside.
The plant contains a chemical known as resiniferatoxin. If a single drop of this chemical touched your tongue, your last memory of this mortal plane would be you clawing out your own tongue with an ice pick. This is because the chemical is hotter than any pepper known to man. In fact, it’s hotter than the stuff we use to melt the eyes of sex offenders. Standard police-issue pepper spray clocks in at around 1.5 million Scoville units, and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the world’s hottest pepper, tops off at about 2 million. Big deal; resiniferatoxin clocks in at 16 billion. Meaning that this little cactus is more dangerous to your skin and eyes than 10,000 cans of pepper spray. Why we don’t advise women to throw them at creepy guys in bars is a question for another day.
5. Abrus Precatorius – Rosary Pea
The Rosary Pea, or Crab’s Eye, is a plant you’ve probably never heard of, mainly because the most notable part of it is its tiny seeds, which are bright red and often used in jewelry and instrument making.
However, these tiny seeds contain a toxin dozens of times more potent than ricin. So surely eating one is certain death, right? Well, not exactly. For the most part, eating the seeds has little to no effect on humans, due to the hardness of their shell.
So not only are these seeds so deadly they could kill a man quicker than a steamroller with a drunk driver, but they’re so tough they can not only keep that toxin from getting out, but they can stop a million years of evolution from getting in. Our bodies can digest freaking McDonalds, and this tiny seed comes out of our digestive tracts looking brand new. And just to rub it in, it holds a bunch of poison in it as if to say “yeah, I’m just that good.”
4. Cerbera Odollam – Suicide Tree
With a name like the Suicide Tree, we were expecting big things from this entry, right up until we heard its other name: the Pong Pong. Then we just felt sad we don’t get to use that word more.
So why is this thing called the Suicide Tree? Well, it’s because it’s used in a lot of suicides, due to its fruit having a very unique property. This property being that it’s poisonous, yet has a flavor that is very easy to hide with strong spices or curries. As fate would have it, the tree grows in India, making suicide curry, or curricide, very easy for people.
However, this property is also utilized by, oddly enough, annoyed husbands to murder their wives. Since no one knows what this fruit actually tastes like, we’re not exactly sure why they feel the need to put it into a curry in the first place, but we’re just going to assume that some criminals plain love cooking and hate being married.
3. Urtica Ferox – Ongaonga
Ongaonga are like stinging nettles carrying tasers. There are stories of people lightly brushing this thing and being crippled to the point of wishing for suicide within an hour.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the plant is able to grow to heights of 3 meters or more, and they form huge, impassable thickets. As if nature hadn’t already thrown us a curve ball with sharks and tigers, it went right ahead and created walls literally made of nothing but pain that will reduce you to a crumpled, sobbing heap of human urine in less than an hour. Come on, Nature, we already have exes; we don’t need a plant that can do that too.
2. Darlingtonia Californica – Cobra Lily
Being compared to a cobra — an animal that is universally considered more threatening than a gun made of spiders — is a compliment, but it doesn’t make you automatically badass. What does make you badass however, is catching and killing your dinner by sitting still.
Efficiency is what determines which creature is most dominant in the food chain; the animal that can feed itself and reproduce with the least effort exerted is invariably the one at the top. That’s why we invented take-away and Viagra. However, the finest hunter on Earth isn’t us: it’s this plant. Whereas we have to cook and, most offensively, chew our own food, the Corba Lily sits around and has its food and sex literally fly into its face. We’re willing to guess that about 30% of the people reading right now would trade their left foot for that ability, and we wouldn’t blame you.
1. Hura Crepitans – Sandbox Tree
The sandbox tree is basically a grenade masquerading as a unborn plank. Grenade is not a word we’re using lightly here, as the tree is able to launch seeds at speeds in excess of 100 MPH. No, we didn’t add an extra zero there; this tree can launch tree sperm faster that you’re legally allowed to drive.
The fruit of the tree is known to explode with such force, seeds have been found hundreds of feet away from their original source. We apologize for inadvertently rhyming there, but come on; we’re talking about a tree that pollinates itself by turning it’s unborn children into shrapnel. If that’s not an excuse to spit sick rhymes, we don’t know what is.