- Firstly, despite its appearance, the innocent-seeming Gympie-Gympie remains absolutely anything but innocent or harmless. That’s because the amazing plant conceals a truly dark secret. That holds true due to the fact that any creature touching it can potentially experience great pain.
- But, despite this off-putting fact, the small fruit of the species remains fully edible for humans. However, this holds true only if one takes proper precautions concerning the rest of the plant. In this manner, the astonishing plant represents yet another example of the ingenuity of Nature.
- However, the Gympie-Gympie only inhabits a fairly restricted natural habitat range. Fortunately, though, within that range the plant currently appears to be quite abundant, at least for the moment. Therefore, the IUCN does not presently list it on its Red List of Threatened Species.
- Unfortunately, though, that status could change in the foreseeable future. This occurs because of the fact that, like many species with a limited range, it now finds itself facing various threats. This particular species remains especially vulnerable to the looming threat of escalating climate change.
Gympie-Gympie Physical Description
Perhaps most notably, the incredible Gympie-Gympie usually appears as a single-stemmed plant. However, it displays a surprising versatility. In fact, the remarkable plant sometimes develops as a small tree with a very thin trunk.
Furthermore, individuals specimens occasionally attain heights of as much as 10 ft (3 m). But, more commonly individual specimens measure about 3.3 ft (1 m) in height. The variations in size occur due to differences in local conditions.
In addition, the stems most commonly develop quite thin, and flexible. These produce heart-shaped leaves measuring from 5-9 in (12-22 cm) in length. They also average 4-7 in (11-18 cm) wide, and have a dense covering of fine hairs.
In addition, the flowers of the amazing Gympie-Gympie also develop very small in size. Following their blooming, these produce small, mulberry-like fruit. Furthermore, these tiny fruits 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 a moderately remote section of the world. This somewhat limited range consists of specific portions of northeast Australia. Further, even there this remarkable plant exhibits very specific needs, and as a result only inhabits regions of dense rainforest.
In addition, this dangerous yet fascinating species also ranks as unique within its genus. That’s because the plant evolved an uncommon physical characteristic. It produces both male and female flowers. But, in its case, the males typically remain the minority, being surrounded by the females.
Furthermore, the Gympie-Gympie also developed an extremely effective and powerful protection. That’s because contact with any of the countless tiny hairs covering its entirety releases a powerful toxin. Although not fatal, even minor contact frequently produces extreme pain in the unfortunate victim.
In addition, this pain remains long-lasting. In point of fact, this suffering can last for several days. Further, in extreme case, the victim may endure the agony for an even more extended time. The pain lessens after a while, but returns if touched or exposed to water. Finally, this can actually last for as long as several months.