General, Research, Technology

Why is the world's most poisonous plant causing severe pain?

Many people consider Australia to be very dangerousa place full of poisonous creatures. And this is a completely correct idea, because this mainland literally wants to kill everyone who finds himself on it. The Internet is full of photos and videos of local residents trying to drive huge snakes and spiders out of their homes. But did you know that Australian nature is also full of poisonous plants? Take the Dendrocnide moroides tree, for example, which inflicts terrible pain on anyone who touches it. People describe this pain as a mixture of acid burning and electric shock, and these terrible sensations can last for a month or more. And often even painkillers cannot relieve this pain. Until now, scientists could not understand how the Australian plant brings such terrible torment to people. It turned out that it contains a poison previously unknown to science.

The pain that the plant Gympie-gimpi causes to a person can drive you crazy

Gympie-gimpy tree

I already talked about the Gympie-gimpy tree in the articleabout the most unusual plants in the world. It grows in the rainforests of Australia and Indonesia and is considered the most poisonous plant in the world. By itself, it cannot kill a person. However, people who were not lucky enough to touch him experienced unbearable pain, which can lead to suicide. Fortunately, not a single victim of Gympie-gimpy has committed suicide. But this does not mean that the plant is not dangerous. After all, it must be terrible when a person continuously experiences pain for a whole month, which doctors cannot relieve. Even an enemy would not wish such torture.

Gympie-gimpy tree leaves

The structure of dangerous plants

According to researcher Irina Vetter, all stinging plants like nettles have tiny needles on the surface, referred to as trichomes... Their length does not exceed 5 millimeters, thereforethey look like fine hairs. When a person touches them, they act like hypodermic needles. Only drugs do not enter the human body, but a mixture of toxic substances. Previously, histamine and formic acid were found inside the stinging plant Gympie-gimpi. They are also found in common nettles and are painful. However, compared to the torture of a tropical plant, the pain of stinging nettle is a minor thing.

Trichomes Gympie-gimpy under the microscope

Recently, Australian scientists have decided more carefullyto study the substances that make up the "infernal mixture" inside the poisonous Gympie-gimpy. It turned out that in addition to the components mentioned above, inside the plant there is a completely new poison for science. He was given the name Gympietides. In the course of laboratory experiments, scientists have found that it acts directly on the most important components of nerve cells. But it is the irritation of the nerve cells that causes pain in living organisms. The poison gimpietid has the property of acting on nerve cells for a very long time, so the victims of the plant suffer for weeks and months.

See also: Why is the most poisonous tree in the world dangerous to humans?

The poison inside the plant

The results of the study were sharededition of New Atlas. From now on, scientists know what exactly provokes severe pain in victims of the Gympie-gimpi plant. This means that they will soon be able to develop an effective pain reliever. And this pain reliever can be helpful in combating pain caused by poisonous snakes and sea snails. And all because in its structure gimpietid is similar to the venoms of some species of these animals. And here's another interesting thing - how did evolution make it so that the toxic substances inside plants and animals suddenly acquired similar properties? In the scientific community, the phenomenon in which organisms from different groups acquire common features is called convergent evolution. For example, dolphins are very similar to fish in appearance, but they are mammals. Most likely, scientists will also study the common features of plants and animals.

If you are interested in the news of science and technology, subscribe to our channel in Yandex. Dzen. There you will find materials that have not been published on the site!

Have you ever thought about whether plants canto feel pain? After all, in childhood, many of us loved to beat the nettles with sticks. Maybe they were in pain, and we didn't even know it? You can find out whether it is possible to take revenge on the nettle for the pain caused in the article by the author of Ilya Khel. In his article, he talked about whether plants can feel pain.