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The more we trek around the brush on these islands, the more plants we come in contact with that are not super friendly towards humans. I wrote quite some time ago about the Manchineel tree, nicknamed the “Little Apple of Death.” In the Clive Cussler novel that I am currently reading on my Kindle, an assassin kills a small plane full of passengers by adding Manchineel to their food!

Fortunately we have not been overtaken by the desire to ingest strange little pieces of fruit that we happen upon in the woods and thus are still among the living. We have however run into another nasty little plant, the Sand Spur, on a number of occasions. These little buggers have to be some of the sharpest plants out there. In the photo below you’ll see how they have imbedded themselves in my flip flop! If you have the bad luck to step on one, once you finish swearing, you will probably find that it will stick itself in your fingers as you try to remove it. We are definitely not fans of the Sand Spur!


  1. I grew up with these (sand hills of north Florida). Loved them as a kid, you could throw them and they would stick to anything. I hate them as an adult. Florida beaches should only be enjoyed barefoot. Not a good idea around these things.

  2. Looks like a bugger we had to deal with growing up in Arizona.
    The Bullhead:

  3. Brian ,Sally Chatterley

    Funny and not funny ha! ha! Funny this what I dug out of my foot the first day I was in Florida. I hate them ,I hate them ,I hate them I think you get it.

  4. Yes, I just got back from Cuba and you also find these little buggers all over the island. Not much fun getting these things stuck in your feet!

  5. Yes, those things are nasty. You are probably aware that in tropical and sub-tropical climates ALL the plants are well able to defend themselves. If not, then the browsers and grazers would destroy them in no time. As well as wild animals, it is insects such as ants that destroy the vegetation, but the worst culprits are goats. Defences include spikes, spines, saw edges, knife edges, leathery skins, smells and poisons, plus others I have forgotten.

    We were lucky enough to spend some years in lovely Kenya. There, the vegetation on the equator ranges from snow line to shore line. You can get hurt anywhere in it. Often the medics didn’t know what to do about it, but the locals always did!

    Your picture brings back painful memories 🙂


  6. We even have them in Ohio in the summer.

    I use my pliers to grab them.


  7. I hated those things when I was on Anegada – they were all over the place at Cow Wreck Beach. I got at least one a day stuck into a toe – even when wearing flip flops they would get stuck on the front of my big toe. I spent every evening digging them out of my flip flops with a spoon (that’s all I had in my room – no knives).

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