+
upworthy
Science

Ever heard of a dynamite tree? It's a tree built to kill.

The planet never ceases to provide things that leave us in awe.

sandbox tree, deadly trees, exploding fruit

Who's stringing lights on this guy for the holidays?

Ah, trees. One of Mother Nature’s most majestic creations. Always glorious sights to behold, with their bountiful blooms, luscious leaves and poisonous fruit bombs…

Wait, what?

You read that correctly. The sandbox tree, also known as the monkey no-climb or dynamite tree, lives up to all of its nicknames. It might not hold the official record for being the “most deadly tree in the world,” but it certainly comes close.

A video posted to YouTube by Animalogic gives a fun deep dive on the sandbox tree and all the ways in which it “chooses violence.” Reader beware: This might cause trust issues with other trees. Suddenly you might find yourself wondering what that birch in your front yard’s real intentions are.

First off, let’s talk about those fruit bombs.


The sandbox tree’s official name references the small pumpkin-like fruit it bears. Up until the mid-1800s, when sand was the primary tool for blotting ink, these small gourds made a perfect container for sand and therefore were a standard desk item until they were replaced with blotting paper, Animalogic explained.

But when not being harvested as desk ornaments, these fruits can act as seed explosives. Though this is more of a reproductive strategy than a defensive attack (aiming to get the seeds as far away from the parent plant as possible), humans and animals caught in the crossfire can still be badly hurt by a relentless seed onslaught.

Luckily these seed grenades are fairly predictable and therefore avoidable. They don’t explode at night or when the air is damp, as they need heat and dryness to be ignited. When temperatures are high, however, the fruit will lose more than half of its moisture—becoming so dry each of the 15 sections will violently split away from each other … sort of like distant cousins at an outdoor family reunion. If that happens, look out!

Next, we have stabbing bark.

Yep, from top to bottom, the sandbox tree is densely covered in needle sharp, knife-like points. Hence, monkey no-climb (and hopefully nothing else tries to climb it either). No wonder Animalogic likened it to a “medieval torture device.”

When all else fails, the sandbox tree relies on a weapon that’s withstood the test of time—poison.

Remember those fruit bombs? Well, even if they don’t explode and kill you, just one bite could result in violent cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. OK, so maybe it’s not death … but it ain’t great.

The sandbox tree’s thick, red sap it secretes is also toxic, creating a skin rash on contact, not to mention temporary blindness if it gets into your eye. Indigenous peoples would dip their darts into this sap for hunting and warfare. On the plus side, certain parts of the plant can allegedly be used to treat stomach issues, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and intestinal worms. Please, please don’t try this at home.

Much like Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors,” this tree seems hellbent on world domination. Because of its explosive and efficient seed dispersing system, the species is now considered invasive in East Africa. Ironically, the trees were consciously planted there for shade.

sandbox tree, dynamite tree, monkey no climb treeGiphy

One person joked in the video’s comments, “okay, who thought the poisonous, explosive, thorn-covered tree would be the best option to import for shade?” A fair question!

The sandbox tree might be a tad toxic, deadly, intrusive and insidious, but it’s still pretty cool to learn about. The planet never ceases to provide things that leave us in awe … and in this case, terrified.

And special kudos to Animalogic for providing entertaining and educational videos. You might have given us some nightmare fuel, but we love it.

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
Kevin Parry / Twitter

Toronto-based animator and video wizard Kevin Parry has gone mega-viral for his mind-boggling collection of videos where he turns himself into random objects.

In a series of quick clips he changes into everything from a pumpkin to a bright yellow banana and in most of the videos, he appears to suffer a ridiculous death. The videos combine studio trickery with a magician's flair.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
OriginalAll photos belong to Red Méthot, who gave me permission to share them here.

Chloé was born at 32 weeks.


Every single day, babies across the world are born prematurely, which means that they're born before 37 weeks of gestation.

In Canada, about 29,000 infants are born prematurely each year, roughly 1 in every 13. But in the United States, around 400,000 to 500,000 are born early. That's about 1 in every 8 to 10 babies born in the U.S.!

Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer and student, decided to capture the resilience of many of these kids for a school photography project.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Teacher tries to simulate a dictatorship in her classroom, but the students crushed her

"I’ve done this experiment numerous times, and each year I have similar results. This year, however, was different."

Each year that I teach the book "1984" I turn my classroom into a totalitarian regime under the guise of the "common good."

I run a simulation in which I become a dictator. I tell my students that in order to battle "Senioritis," the teachers and admin have adapted an evidence-based strategy, a strategy that has "been implemented in many schools throughout the country and has had immense success." I hang posters with motivational quotes and falsified statistics, and provide a false narrative for the problem that is "Senioritis."

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

The MC Hammer dance though.

Father and daughter dances are a traditional staple of weddings. They tend to range somewhere between tearfully sweet and hilariously cringey. But sometimes, as was the case of Brittany Revell and her dad Kelly, they can be so freakin’ cool that millions of people become captivated.

Brittany and Kelly’s video, which amassed, I kid you not, more than 40 million views on TikTok, shows the pair grooving in sneakers (Brittany’s were white because, hello, wedding dress) to their “dance through the decades.”

It all began with Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” to give you a clear picture. And bust a move, they did.

Though the duo did a handful of iconic moves—the tootsie roll, the MC Hammer dance, the Carlton, just to name a few—“the dougie,” made famous by Cali Swag District, was the obvious fan favorite.
Keep ReadingShow less