A poisonous plant that can cause extreme pain from even the lightest of brushing has arrived in the UK – safely under lock and key.
Known as the Gympie-Gympie, the Dendrocnide moroides is housed in a glass case and even has its own keeper to watch, feed and water it.
It was introduced at Alnwick Garden’s Poison Garden in Northumberland, which houses more than 100 dangerous plants and has the ominous statement ‘These plants can kill’ and a skull and crossbones engraved on the gates.
The gympie gympie is typically found in the rainforests of Australia and Indonesia, the BBC reports, and a single touch of the plant can cause people to suffer for weeks.
Scientists have recently found that its toxin bears a close resemblance to the venom of spiders and scorpions, and that due to its molecular structure, it can “confuse” and repeatedly attack its victim’s pain receptors.
John Knox, senior guide at the Poison Garden, said: “It has little hairs on it. So if you brush past it and make skin contact, the plant’s hairs will grow under the skin, break off and inject poison – which it did.” He was described as being electrocuted and set on fire at the same time.
“It’s locked behind glass, as if hairs from the plant being blown out of the closet could cause a severe allergy.”
The Poison Garden was created in 2005 after the historic Alnwick Garden was revived as a tourist attraction.
Visitors are only allowed on guided tours and are not allowed to smell, touch or taste plants.
Some visitors have been known to faint while walking through the garden from inhaling toxic fumes.
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