Can Eating A Beach Apple Really Kill You?

Over 7,500 varieties of apples grow on our planet, according to Thrillist. We've got McIntosh apples, good for baking in pies. We've got Granny Smiths, an amazingly healthy snack. We've also got crabapples, great for throwing at people.

With so many different varieties available, it may not surprise you to learn that some apples are actually quite dangerous and should not be eaten. (It may, however, surprise you that rhubarb leaves, asparagus berries, and cashew hulls are extremely dangerous. Who would have guessed?) In fact, the apples we're talking about here may not even technically be actual apples — but instead just resemble them.

Beach apples, which grow on the manchineel tree, resemble green crabapples in appearance. They are found throughout the Caribbean and Central America, as well as in Florida — a state already infamous for its bizarre headlines and strange foods. Although these little fruits look innocent enough, don't be fooled. There's a reason the Spanish conquistadors dubbed beach apples "little apples of death," according to How Stuff Works

The real dangers of the beach apple

If you're in southern Florida and see an apple tree with a warning sign on it, you might be looking at a manchineel tree. According to Atlas Obscura, even contact with the tree itself — its white sap or leaves — can cause your skin to blister. And contact with your eyes — even via water or smoke — can cause temporary blindness.

But what if you still dare to try a beach apple? (You most definitely should not.) Per Earth Date, European explorer Juan Ponce de León was said to have been killed after being hit with poison arrows that were dipped in the fruit's juice. And while the only other tales of death by these beach apples are about other ancient sailors, that doesn't mean the fruit is any less dangerous.

One medical professional tried a beach apple in 2000, according to Earth Date. She did not die, but she experienced an intense burning sensation in her throat, the inability to swallow, excruciating pain, and swollen lymph nodes. All this, just from a tiny bit of the apple's juice. And if you were to eat an entire beach apple, you experience asphyxiation, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and yes, perhaps even death. So maybe just stick with a nice McIntosh if you're needing a snack