Gympie gympie or Dendrocnide moroides is a common plant to rainforest areas in the north east of Australia. It is best known for its stinging hairs that releases a powerful neurotoxin when touched. While the contact with the leaves or twigs causes the hollow, silica-tipped hairs to penetrate the skin. The pain is extreme and can last upto days, weeks, or months. The pain has been described as being sprayed with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time. A man was reported to have shot himself after using the shrub’s leaves as toilet paper. It is more likely a false report but we don’t recommend trying it out 🙂
Even though, the fruit is edible if the stinging hairs are removed.
The recommended treatment for skin exposed to the hairs is applying diluted hydrochloric acid and pulling them out with a hair removal strip.