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Woman who fell into world’s most deadly plant suffered horrific consequences for years after

Woman who fell into world’s most deadly plant suffered horrific consequences for years after

Mum-of-four Naomi Lewis said childbirth was a walk in the park compared to her plant ordeal.

You might think that a nettle sting is bad, but then again, maybe you've never heard of it's dreadful older sister - the Gympie-Gympie plant.

It's official moniker is dendrocnide moroides, but seen as though that's a bit difficult to pronounce, people have come up with a few terrifying nicknames to refer to it - one being the 'suicide plant' and another being the 'stinging bush'.

Although those labels might sound scary, they are pretty appropriate considering they are describing one of the world's most deadly plants which inflicts an excruciatingly painful sting on its victims.

It's not just a fleeting, fiery discomfort though - in fact, those who are unlucky enough to come into contact with a Gympie-Gympie plant can be left suffering for weeks, months and even a year afterwards.

Mum-of-four Naomi Lewis said the agony she felt after being stung while mountain biking far exceeded that of childbirth.

She had headed out on a hefty cycle near her home in the city of Cairns in Australia in a pair of shorts, but returned home wishing she had wore something more like a hazmat suit.

The then-42-year-old explained she ended up flying off her bike during her picturesque cycle, which resulted in her leaving the trail and hurtling down an embankment - before sliding straight into a Gympie-Gympie plant.

Naomi said the instant agony she felt from landing on the green shrubs, which are part of the nettle family and are native to Down Under, was '100 percent the worst pain ever' and compared the sensation to being set on fire.

Naomi Lewis crashed into a Gympie-Gympie plant on a bike ride.
Naomi Lewis

Discussing her ordeal with ABC News last year, she then recalled how her condition then got even worse.

"It was horrible, absolutely horrible," the Aussie said. "The pain was just beyond unbearable. The body gets to a pain threshold, and then I started vomiting.

"I've had four kids – three caesareans and one natural childbirth. None of them even come close."

According to IFL Science, the Gympie-Gympie plant is 'pretty toxic all over, but especially on the stems'.

Naomi's panicked husband, Richard, bundled her into the car and rushed her to a nearby pharmacy, where he purchased leg wax in a bid to remove the dozens and dozens of fine hairs which had become embedded in her skin.

The stem, branches, leaves, and fruits of the Gympie-Gympie plant are all covered in stinging hairs, which inject venom into the poor sod who runs into one.

Naomi told how they quickly warmed up the wax strips on the car bonnet, before she had a team of people all trying to 'wax her legs to get the stinging hairs off' her while an ambulance was still en route.

"I remember waiting for the ambulance and saying to my husband, 'I can't deal with this,'" the mum said.

Paramedics then took her to Cairns Hospital in wake of the agonising incident which occurred in June 2022, although medics were left pretty stumped about how to help the patient.

The terrifying plant is covered in tiny venomous hairs.
University of Queensland

All doctors could do was make her as comfortable as possible, administer pain relief and cover her legs with heated blankets - which Naomi said helped to 'slightly soothe' her pain.

She was later transferred to the Cairns Private Hospital, where she stayed for seven days while receiving treatment.

The mum was eventually sent home with pain killers - but her nightmare was far from over.

Naomi explained she was forced to 'live with heat packs strapped to my legs for a very long time' as it was the only thing which relieved her pain.

She was only able to stop relying on medication by Christmas that year, which is pretty much a full six months since her accident while biking.

Nine months after her sting, Naomi explained she was still feeling an agonising sensation which she compared to someone 'snapping rubber bands' on one section of her leg when it was not covered up.

If you’re ever in that part of the world, you can identify the Gympie-Gympie because it looks a bit like a big nettle and has wide, oval or heart-shaped leaves.

It’s also got a fruit that looks a bit like a raspberry, but don’t be tempted - it’s also covered in tiny hairs.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Image/University of Queensland

Topics: Health, World News, Environment, Australia, News