- Firstly, the innocent-seeming Gympie-Gympie is anything but that. That’s because the amazing plant conceals a dark secret. Any creature touching it can experience great pain.
- But, despite this off-putting fact, the fruit of the species remains fully edible, if one takes proper precautions. Yet another example of the ingenuity of Nature.
- However, the Gympie-Gympie only inhabits a fairly restricted habitat range. Fortunately, though, within that range it appears to be rather abundant. Therefore, the IUCN does not presently list it on its Red List.
- Finally, that fact could change in the future. This is due to the fact that, like many species with a limited range, it remains particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Gympie-Gympie Physical Description
Most notably, the incredible Gimpie-Gympie usually appears as a single-stemmed plant. However, sometimes it develops as a small tree with a very thin trunk.
Furthermore, it occasionally attains heights of as much as 10 ft (3 m). But, more commonly individual specimens measure about 3.3 ft (1 m). The variations occur due to differences in local conditions.
In addition, the stems develop quite thin, and flexible. These produce heart-shaped leaves measuring from 5-9 in (12-22 cm) in length. These also average 4-7 in (11-18 cm) wide, and have a dense covering of fine hairs.
Its flowers also develop rather small, producing mulberry-like fruit. Furthermore, these typically present a bright pink to purple color.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Urticaceae
- Genus: Dendrocnide
- Species: D. moroides
Gympie-Gympie Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, the Gympie-Gympie only appears naturally in portions of northeast Australia. Further, even there this remarkable plant only inhabits regions of dense rainforest.
It also ranks as unique in its genus. That’s because the plant produces both male and female flowers. But, in its case, the males typically remain the minority, being surrounded by the females.
It also developed a powerful protection. Contact with any of the countless tiny hairs covering its entirety releases a powerful toxin. Although not fatal, it produces extreme pain.
In addition, this pain can last for several days, and more in some cases. It dies down after a while, but returns if touched or exposed to water. Finally, this can last for as long as several months.