Creature Feature Friday: Man-Eating Trees

It’s time again for Creature Feature Friday, and we’re “branching” out to a really odd monstrosity… Man-Eating Trees! There are different types of man-eating trees, some well known by their own individual names, and others are hiding among their non-carnivorous counterparts until suddenly making their presence known by grabbing an unsuspecting snack. Below are 5 quick things to know about these deadly plants:

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1) Firstly: The Madagascar Tree. Creepier and more murderous than Audrey II, The Madagascar Tree is a man-eating tree in (you guessed it) Madagascar! Originally reported as a newly discovered species in the New York World newspaper in 1874, this killer plant purportedly uses its many tendrils to strangle and consume victims, much like constricting snakes. The newspaper article stated that a botanist had observed the Mkodo tribe feed one of their own to the Tree as a sacrifice; however, according to the Museum of Hoaxes, the story of The Madagascar Tree was later revealed to be a hoax created by a New York World reporter. BUT, The Madagascar Tree is not a singular story...

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2) Tales of carnivorous botanical anomalies have been noted in other countries, including the Ya-te-veo (meaning “I see you already” …yikes) in Central and South America, which also has tendrils that it uses to lure in human snacks. In some accounts, it also possesses one giant eyeball for creepin’ on its victims. The life force of Ya-te-veo is believed to come from evil witch doctor magic.

3) The tale of another vampiric vine was published in the September 1891 edition of Lucifer magazine, describing a plant in Nicaragua that natives called “the devil's snare.” The plant had the capability "to drain the blood of any living thing which comes within its death-dealing touch."

4) In India as recently as 2007, another arboreal monster was reportedly responsible for a cow-napping when it suddenly lowered its branches and plucked a wandering cow clear off the forest floor. Villagers from Padrame near Kokkoda claimed they beat the tree until it dropped the terrified cow. The villagers also shared that after grazing in the forest, many of their cows return home missing their tails. That’s generally not… normal.

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5) The descriptions of man-eating trees vary from place to place. They can take the shape of flowering fruit trees, trees with short fat trunks and tendrils, the very tallest trees in a jungle, or short little bushes. In essence, with no known criteria for the creation of man-eating trees, any leafy greens could have the potential to turn Jeffrey Dahmer on you while you take an unsuspecting woodland stroll. Trust no shrub.

The moral of the story: Fight back against carnivorous vegetation; eat a salad, before a salad eats you. Happy Friday.