Madagascar’s Man-Eating Tree

| 31. July 2020 |

The jungles of Madagascar are already filled with ferocious man-eating animals that keep humans at bay from disrupting the wildlife, but man-eating trees? This idea is haunting enough because plants are usually considered harmless and helpful. The scientific community made and accord with Darwin’s idea that plants can be carnivorous which opened new doors to explore these creatures. In the 1800s, the first-ever report of the Madagascar Tree was submitted by a German explorer, Carl Liche. He described this carnivorous tree as having a quick wit along with the possession of brutal energy that attacked and consumed large-sized animals and humans in the blink of an eye.

The news and tales of creatures like this one spread quite rapidly, even in that era. Madagascar was soon titled as “The land of the Man-eating Tree”. The description and dangers of this plant were strong enough to strike fear in the faint-hearted. Due to the discovery of insect-eating plants, it was much easier to believe that a larger and much deadlier version of this species could exist.   

There are reports of other carnivorous plants too but they’re not as lethal as the Madagascar man-eating tree. Carl’s theory was further mentioned in several pieces of research and in a book written by the former Governor of Madagascar, Osborn in 1924 telling sightings and tales of this hideous tree that quenched its thirst by the blood of many. According to research, this plant has made its home in Central America, South America, and some areas of Africa. Many sightings reveal that this monstrous tree has a short but sturdy trunk with long and slender limbs/appendages to trap its prey. Its size can vary according to the kind of animals it likes to devour. But even the smallest ones of these Madagascar trees would be big enough to captivate humans. Rumor has it that this tree even has an eye to navigate its incoming targets as well.     

The locals and tribal people have created myths and legends connecting this beastly tree with bad omens and black magic performed by witch doctors of earlier times. In Carl Liche’s published account on this tree, he stated that people belonging to the tribes of “Mkodo”, followed rituals and customs that lead them to sacrifice people to this carnivorous tree. 

 Other plants that share the legends of carnivorous trees are Yateveo and the Vampire vine.