Strange and Dangerous Plants (Every Other Tuesday)

Hello fellow Botanists, and welcome to a blast from the past! I have decided to bring back an interesting topic on dangerous and beneficial plants. Botany has always interested me, and I love the different defenses of plants. Now, let’s begin our journey into the unknown!

  • Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) Size: Tree 49 ft Leaves 2-4 in Habitat: South America Edible 

Yerba mate is a fantastic plant that can be found all over South America. The plant is very versatile, and has many benefits. It contains caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. It also can be made into a delicious tea that can satisfy ones caffeine craving, as well as boosting ones mood and mental energy. I actually prefer the tea over coffee, and it has a very refined taste. If you ever find one of these bottles in a supermarket, I highly recommend that you pick it up.

yerba mate  

  • Sandbox Tree (Hura crepitans) Size: Tree: Up to 195 ft Leaves: 2 ft and up Edible Parts: Sap (But only if prepared correctly!) Dangerous Parts: Fruit, bark, and leaves are poisonous 

The Sandbox Tree is a very dangerous tree that can be found in the tropical regions of South America. The tree is very tall and covered in sharp thorns. It houses strange, pumpkin-like fruit that combust ferociously when ripe. Upon explosion, the fruit sends its seeds everywhere at speeds of up to 160 miles per hour! This is how this plant got its other name, the dynamite tree. Contact with the tree’s leaves, fruit, or bark can result in a variety of unpleasant ailments. If the seeds are ingested, serious stomach cramps, diarrhea, temporary vision loss, increased heartbeat, and vomiting will soon occur. Dermatitis can also occur if the skin is exposed to the sap for a short period of time. Lumberjacks who deal with these trees must wear masks and eye protection.    Despite the bad effects of the plant, some parts, such as the sap, can be used to treat decaying teeth, intestinal worms, leprosy, and rheumatism. The sap is even used in the United States when manufacturing tear gas shells! (What a strange, yet fascinating plant!)

sandbox tree      

 

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More Of The Schmidt Pain Index (Every Other Tuesday)

Hello fellow Entomologists! It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means! Yes, its time for us to take a look at some more dangerous insects. Now, let’s begin!

  • Maricopa harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex maricopa) Size: The tip of your finger Pain Index: 3 Diet: Seeds Habitat: Arizona 

This species of harvest ant is mainly found in Arizona. It has a bright, red body and a very potent venom. The ant species harvests seeds for consumption, and make their homes in gravel or rock-rich environments. The sting is infamous for being extremely painful, and 12 stings call kill a mouse. Schmidt describes the pain as: “A drill wedged into an ingrown toenail.” o_O! To make matters worse, the pain can last for up to four hours!

maricopa.jpg

 

  • California carpenter bee (Xylocopa californica) Size: 12-25 mm Diet: Nectar Habitat: California, Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah Sting Index: 2.5

The California carpenter bee is a large, black bee with big wings, powerful mandibles, and a stinger. The females are the only ones who sting, while the males focus on pollination. Schmidt describes the pain as: “Swift, sharp, and decisive, like slamming a fingertip in a car door.”

  carpenter bee

More Of The Schmidt Pain Index (Every Other Tuesday)

Hello fellow Entomologists! It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means! Yes, it’s time to take a look at some more scary creatures. Now, let’s start exploring!

  • Velvet Ant (Dasymultila klugii) Size: 0.75 in Habitat: The North American Southwest  Diet: Larvae and adult insects Schmidt Pain Level: 3

The Velvet Ant, or “cow killer”, is a large ground wasp with a hairy, orange body. While not an actual species of ant, its appearance can confuse people. It’s known for delivering an excruciating sting that can last for 30 minutes. Only the females have the stinger, which is quite long and pointy. Coyote Peterson described the pain as radiating and fiery with a tingling sensation.

velvet 

 

 

  • Tarantula Hawk (Pepsis Thisbe) Size: 5 in Diet: Tarantulas Habitat: Worldwide  Schmidt pain index: 4

The Tarantula Hawk is an incredibly scary, parasitic wasp with an amazingly painful sting. They hunt tarantulas, and paralyze them before eating them whole. The pain is equivalent to being shocked with a taser. The females are the only ones that sting, and won’t unless provoked. 

tarant

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index (Every Other Tuesday)

Hello fellow Entomologists! It’s Tuesday, and it’s time for a brand new post! I have talked in detail about Justin Schmidt. He is a famous Entomologist that invented the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The index categorizes insect stings on a 1 to 4 scale with 4 being the most painful. He wrote a fantastic book called The Sting Of The Wild, which highlights his experiences with these dangerous insects. The Brave Wilderness Youtube channel also goes in depth about these insects, and I highly recommend subscribing to the channel because Coyote Peterson is god! This post will cover 2 different insects from the index and a quick description of them. I also will be covering an insect that has yet to be recorded on the index. Be warned! Some of these entries are quite scary! Each entry will have a link to the Brave Wilderness Channel where Coyote gets bitten/stung by these insects.

  • Giant Desert Centipede (Scolopendra heros) Schmidt Index Rating: ??? (Probably a 4) Size: Up to 8 in Habitat: Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States Diet: rodents, amphibians, insects

The Giant Desert Centipede is one freaky critter with a bright red head and greenish black body. It primarily hunts at night, and has a highly potent venom. It has savage pincers which deliver an excruciating bite. Coyote admitted that it was more painful than a Bullet Ant, which is the highest ranked insect on the index. People who are bitten usually suffer headaches, nausea, lesions, and in worst cases, death. Don’t mess with this insect!

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiUm5mvyd3YAhUP2VMKHYPKC2UQtwIIMzAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DnWZMfPP34g8&usg=AOvVaw1e9-OyWIjT7kpT-ebNfx11

 

  • Warrior Wasp (Synoeca septentrionalis) Schmidt Index Rating: 4 Size: 0.79 in Habitat: Central and South America Diet: Nectar and pollen  

The incredibly creepy Warrior Wasp is one of the most infamous creatures on the Schmidt Pain Index. These insects are dark blue in color and have dangerously sharp stingers. This species of Paper Wasp is extremely aggressive and will sting if threatened. The stinger will fall off if this happens, and the insect will die. Schmidt described the pain of the sting as “pure torture, like being chained to the flow of an active volcano”. Coyote was in immense pain when stung, and his arm was paralyzed for 5 minutes. It’s terrifying that such a small creature can deliver such a painful sting. Be warned! This video will make you scared of bees!

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjolqba0t3YAhWEvVMKHVmYBHoQtwIIWzAK&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dunk6n3_QdlM&usg=AOvVaw0m6WvbCRKOfAOj2qSyXqUs

Nature Is Amazing! (Every Other Tuesday)

Hello fellow nature lovers! It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means! Yes, it’s time for us to take a look at some more amazing creatures. Now, let’s start exploring!

  • Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios) Size: Up to 18ft  Weight: 1,215 kg Depths found: 0-540 ft Habitat: The Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans

The Megamouth is an incredibly rare species of filter feeding shark. Only 63 specimens are known to exist, and it’s rarely seen by humans. The fish is quite large with a massive mouth. Its mouth can reach up to more than 4 ft in length, and it has more than 50 rows of teeth. Their diet consists of krill and other small organisms. It has bioluminescent tissue in its mouth, which helps it attract prey.

megamouth

 

  • Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia) Size: 10-30 cm Habitat: Tropical regions of South America

The Angel’s Trumpet is a beautiful, but deadly plant that grows in South America. It comes in many different colors, and has a very pleasant fragrance. While used in many types of medicine, it can still be extremely dangerous. The plant contains various tropane alkaloids, which have a variety of nasty effects. The effects include;  muscle paralysis, hallucinations, cycloplegia, diarrhea, insanity, and at worst cases, death.

angels trumpet 

Nature Is Awesome! (Every Other Tuesday)

All animals and other organisms found in various books and websites

Hello fellow outdoor enthusiasts! It’s Tuesday and you know what that means! Yes, it’s time to take a look at some more amazing organisms. Now, let’s start exploring!

  • Sundew (Drosera) Diet: Carnivorous  Size: Up to 100cm Habitat: Every Continent besides Antarctic. Every species is divided into several habitats based on climate.

The Sundew is a strange, carnivorous plant that’s nearly found world wide. It has green leaves and many reddish tentacles. These tentacles are covered in a sticky digestive enzymes, which are used to attract prey. The sweet smelling secretion attracts insects, and when they get too close, it attacks! The tentacle trap the poor bug, and begin to digest its body. After the bug’s demise, its nutrients will be absorbed through the leaves to the other parts of the plant. The Sundew also has many medicinal purposes such as being used in teas to prevent whooping cough and asthma attacks. 

sundew 

 

  • Corpse Flower (Rafflesia arnoldii) Size: 3 ft (The largest was 3.4 ft) Diet: Parasitic Habitat: The Rainforests of Sumatra Status: Becoming Endangered

The Rafflesia has the Guinness World Record for being the largest individual flower on Earth. It’s a parasitic organism that’s pollinated by Corpse Flies. It’s a bright red flower with many large, spotted leaves. It’s unisexual, and male and female flowers must be close by for successful pollination.  It can weigh up to a mighty 24 lbs, and is continuously dying out due to increased human activity. This disturbs the bud production of the plant.  The nickname, “Corpse Flower”, comes from the plant’s stench, which is said to resemble rotten flesh. It’s truly a fascinating plant that we must try to protect before they all become extinct.   

raflesia.jpg

Nature Is Awesome! (Every Other Tuesday)

Animals and plants found on various websites and books

Hello fellow nature lovers! It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means! Yes, it’s time for us to take a look at the amazing organisms found in nature. Now, let’s start exploring!

  • Manatee (Sirenia) Size: Up to 8.4 feet  Diet: Herbivore Habitat: Coastal areas of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico 

The Manatee is an adorable creature of the sea. It’s also one of the biggest Herbivores, weighing up to 1,300 lbs. They have a very peaceful disposition, and are quite fascinated by humans. They are fascinating  creatures with widely spaced eyes, and an incredibly prehensile upper lip. They have extremely high intellect, and can perform tasks like dolphins. The Manatee is also known as the “Sea Cow”.

mana Just look at that quite, squishy face!

 

  • Blister Bush (Notobubon galbanum) Size: Up to 2.5 metres Habitat: Table Mountain in South Africa 

The Blister Bush is a dangerous plant that’s native to South Africa. It’s in the same family as carrots, but eating them is a huge no no! The bush has leaves, which resemble parsley, and it’s very green in color. The bush carries a corrosive blend of chemicals which include; xanthotoxin, bergapten, and psoralen. These chemicals cause blistering within days of human contact. They explode with sunlight exposure, and if 5% or more of the body is covered, serious scarring will occur. It can be treated by applying the strongest SPF sunscreen to the irritated area. Despite its many dangers, the bush actually has powerful medicinal purposes. It’s used by people in rural Africa as a cure for kidney stones. It also can be used to prevent miscarriages. 

blister