Umdhlebi

Umdhlebi is an unverified plant species purported to originate in Zululand, South Africa. It was first reported in the journal Nature on November 2, 1882 by Reverend G. W. Parker, a missionary in South Africa, who said the plant was poisonous.[1]

According to Parker, Zulus sacrificed sheep and goats to the tree to calm the evil spirit. As of July 18, 2007, no specimen of the Umdhlebi has ever been recovered, and other than 19th century anecdotal evidence no further verification is known to exist.

Characteristics
The Umdhlebi is described as having large, fragile green leaves, and two layers of bark - a dead outer layer that hung off the tree, and a new living layer that grew beneath it. The fruit of the tree was reported to be red and black, and to hang from branches like small poles.

Effects
Parker never identified the source or nature of the plant's poison, but hypothesized that the Umdhlebi secreted a poisonous gas from the soil around its roots. Parker said it poisoned animals that approached so that the natural process of decay would fertilize the soil in which it was growing. Symptoms of the tree's poison reportedly included headache and bloodshot eyes, followed by delirium and then death.

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