Man eating trees
It’s like a tale out of a horror movie – a man-eating tree living in the deepest, darkest part of the jungle grabs its prey and eats it. Locals, in fear of their lives and in fear of the horrific monster plant bring sacrificial victims to it. But are these stories fiction or fact?
The Madagascar Tree wraps it’s arms around humans and eats them!
There are indeed tales of man-eating trees, and specifically tales of such plants in the country of Madagascar go back 130 years. One infamous tree, sometimes referred to as the “Madagascar Tree” was first reported by a German explorer named Carol Liche in 1881. He claimed that the Mkodo tribe of Madagascar performed sacrifices to a meat-loving tree, and that the tree had serpent-like arms with which it reached out and grabbed its prey. Rumors of this tree and it’s horrors spread quickly. Other authors spread the word as well – most notably, an American politician and former governor of Michigan named Chase Osborn wrote a book talking about the man eating Madagascar tree. Fears of this tree became widespread until 1955 when author Willy Ley came out with the book entitled Salamanders and other Wonders in which he claimed that both the tree and the Mkodo tribe were made-up stories – the hysteria then died down, and everyone agreed that no such tree ever existed. But why would a politician make up these stories? Could a carnivorous tree like this ever have existed? Many think the whole man eating story was a hoax, but others think perhaps it was true at one point and was simply destroyed by humans because there were never that many of these types of trees to begin with. Is it possible?
Man eating trees far fetched? What about Carnivorous Plants!
While it is certainly terrifying to think there are trees that can reach out and grab you, it is not too very far-fetched. It is well-known that there are many carnivorous plants in the world. Plants like venus fly traps and pitcher plants are well-known to trap and digest their prey – most commonly flies, moths, butterflies, or other insects, although on some rare occasions there are documented reports of the occasional rat, bird, or frog being consumed. If something the size of a rat can be eaten by a plant could a human being be plant-consumed? So far, there are no documented pictures of venus fly traps or pitcher plants that would be large enough to consume a person. But just a sidenote – just because something has not yet been documented as existing, does not mean that it absolutely categorically does not exist. Every day new species are being discovered in the most remote parts of the jungle, and in fact there are still areas of the world which are so remote they are little explored, including some parts of Africa, New Guinea, and the Amazon.
Watch the video of the mean-eating tree.