Man planted 'world's most dangerous plant' because he was 'bored'

A little boredom can be dangerous, especially if it pushes you to grow one of the ‘world’s deadliest weeds’.

Native to Australia and Malesia, the gympie-gympie can deliver a sting so painful it can cause suicidal thoughts.

For Daniel Emlyn-Jones, from Oxford, this was not a worry as he wanted to add ‘a bit of drama’ to his gardening.

Instead of planting orchids or a fiddle-leaf fig tree – dubbed some of the hardest to nurture – the 49-year-old opted for the member of the nettle family.

He said: ‘I just thought it would add a bit of drama to my gardening. You can get seeds on the internet, you have to be careful it doesn’t spread out of a contained area though, so I keep it potted in my front room.

‘I got my seeds from a company in Australia, it cost something like sixty Australian dollars, so it wasn’t cheap.

‘I have always liked plants though, I just have got a bit bored with geraniums.


‘According to the internet, the Aborigines supposedly used it to help treat arthritis. I’m not sure how true that is, or how that would work.’

The plant is notorious for its extremely painful sting which may leave its victims suffering for weeks or even months.

Those who have been stung by the shrub describe the pain as the ‘worst kind you can imagine’. 

After growing bananas in his front garden, Daniel thought the gympie-gympie would ‘keep things interesting’.

He has put the plant in a cage with a sign that says ‘Danger’.

Asked if he had been stung yet, Daniel said he has had a ‘few brushes with danger’.

He said: ‘If you grasp it, it’s probably not a good idea, but I’ve been slightly stung by it through the fabric bit on the back of my heavy duty elbow length gloves and that wasn’t awful.

‘I’ve got 3% hydrochloric acid which you can soak the area with for 15 minutes to lessen the sting. It was very slight – it didn’t really bother me much to be honest.

‘I do keep the cage locked though, and I keep the leaves away from the bars as if someone came too close and brushed against it that’d be quite risky.’

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