Man-Eating Tree (1921) | Trees | Plants

The World's News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 1955), Saturday 1 January 1921, page 11

The Tree That Comes
Explorer's

to

Life.

Amazing Story from Madagascar.
Dr. Lechs,

FROM
a

the wild* of Madagatictr,

noted

German
an

explorer

&B&

nepotist,
ot
a

krtaii
certain curious

txtraordlntry

story
life to

of vegetable which the famous Venus flytrap, or pitcher plant, and otter insect catching and

form

eating
he
ten

vegetation,
Crinolda and
is

>«».»*.
Thla

,

plant,

or

tree,
a

which else of

calls

Darjeena,
powerful

attains

feet,

enough enmesh and destroy a being. The Mkodos, the tribe in whose territory it la found ("Popular Science Sift
to

human

ing*" London, explains),
and
A

revere

it

as

a

fetish,
it.

sacrifice iqatfens

of their ago this

tribe

to

quarter

of

a

century
in

certain
tree

consuls sacri "I had the

in

Madagascar
says

mentioned

and

fices to it

by natives
Or.
the

their "to

reports.
the

gone,"
land hnd

Leche,

Madagascar,

qyc-qyc. tree, to visit Queen Ravalana II., and was to visit the persuaded Mkodos by a native who had heard that besides generous dally pay i was accustomed re to ward liberally who showed anyone oe some thing strange or out of the way. "la this company I journeyed to the south eastern part of the island, inland the among hills oovered with thick, virgin forest, where there fa a district practically unknown, whose white visitors can be numbered the Angers on of one hand. is the region This inhabited by the Mkodos.

of the lemur, also of the

lace

plant,

man-eating

WOBSKXZ
"It
was

OF

THB

SAOILBD

TREE.

while smAag these n&thres that I t*s wifbess to what was most the probably horrible sight I have ever seen. Tbeir religion
their sacred tree, freaks of nature. tree they offer hnman sacrifice. Once a time, as upon each was it had consummated, been their custom to burn tree. each This, however, they bad been forced to give up on discovering that the trees were getting to be I arrived When very scarce. they were prac it tically extinct, and difficulty that with was wild guide, whose my stories had attracted me to the place, could find one to show me. is most "The sacred tree in ap remarkable Us pearance. trunk, which rarely rises ten fOet above the ground, is of a strange, barrel like covered with of To-this
one

consists

In

the

worship

of

the most

wonderful

National Library of Australia

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128692994

like shape, covered with a quaint, mosaic sort of hark, looking like nothing so much a as At gigantic pineapple. the top of this trunk it is between eight and nine feet in circum it is fixed a ference, and remarkable upon growth, very much a resembling huge plate. the From there top of the trunk hung eight leaves. of extraordinary slse, ten They were to feet twelve long, a foot wide where they were hinged to the tree, widening to about two feet, and finally tapering down to. a point as a sharp as needle. were They plentifully strewn with huge, venomous-looking thorns. "These leaves could not havl been less than fifteen inches in the centre, and hung down in ertly aloug the trunk, their point trailing in the eertb. Above these there stretched, rigidly and horizontally, a number of .branches several Finally, feet in length. tram underneath the there plant-like arrangement grew,"pointing

upward, half a dozen frail-looking stamens 1 believe-that be a better name, palpi would shivered constantly, as if agitated by some strong wind. "It seems the plate-like affair on top of th» thick, sweet trunk contained some Juice. This is a liquid, which product of -the tree, and was probably originally intended to attract birds, is highly intoxicating, and a even very small quantity very soon When produces coma. sacrifice* take la forced to place, a woman climb into the tree and drink. If the devil inside is in good humor, then the girl will be If he allowed to get down again in safety. feeling ugl^, however, then the poor gtri wa« ott of lite*. was Exactly how the tree was I could going to prevent her jumping down not make out, but I was-'to learn eventually.

THE
to

SACRIFICE.

.?One evening, hairing nude the chief a preee«t that I would be welcome to 'witness ensure I followed the tribe into the their ceremony, Tfcey made fees*. their way to the mend it built twelve fires, so tree, and round that

Then made

lit whole surrounding* *«» ap brightly. about tad they ditposid tbiawlvM them themselves at MOM home, sating, tout of them most drinking Huge gourdfuls of wrtlw ferment. nil of them they worn Very toon more les« Intoxicated, both or the men and the with tfce exception of a young girl women, near by, who neither but spoke nor moved, her as if 9lie were gl*nccd about terrified out

tti«

of

her

wits.

"Suddenly,
.ceased, and deer. The

without Telling warning, the they Mattered like frightened away rracial point had arrived. a For

a

there was complete ttlence hut tor the crackling of the fires. Intuition toM me that the girl I had noted before wis the one that I looked to be the sacrifice. was *t her and terror mortal saw imprinted on her features. I could Yet for the life of me not imagine her fear why, and put down to laacinaton. the first group "By now of dancers had some what recovered, and, suddenly springing up. moment

..The

tNt. The

M*alaglF
so

life. Mltoi

themselves that all her

m l«ti Mrf M Hornless m moaievt had «. Wtan, c«m kad fmlI*la«kUf, aaitfnlf wtw< to u< valvrf, kai akwit tk« (tri*i hes4 audi »b«ald«rti, hoMla* her .. Iralr eff*rta to tree fcerseic re»»tie<l sseless.'» absolutely

v

rushed a poo the girl with poor unearthly shrieks nod yells. They ^surrounded her, and. with shouts and gestnres, ordered her to climb the tree. Terrified, she shrank hack, ap parently begging for mercy. At that the whole crowd joined in, furiously howling at her to the danc*a obey. Once more out their gave orders; then, 4s she still refuted aad struggled,,

struggled,, fcpears, aad, stab bing at her, forced her to retreat in the direction of the 4*fll-|oi For a while she restated, seeking to hold their spears with her ha ads, and oily getting wounded iia re ward for her plucky defence.

they

armed

themselves

with

TBIX
"At

OOm

TO

LOT.

it last, seeing was useless to fight farther, die turned and laced the tree. For a still, she stood moment gathering herself up effort, than quickly she sprang for a supreme the tree. Like a'a*efthny fhe scrambled towards of and drank up, and, reaching the top, kaoU the holy liquid. Quickly slie Jumped up again, and I expected
was over,

to in

see

her her

Jump. down,
light
so .to was not

all

that

diss,

thinking noticing
with

instantly
terror.

what
I

caused

shriek

"Suddenly
and seeiMd

realised

what

happening,
horror. The

to be

paratyeed

with

doad motfonlett . *« and palpt, Th« to lit*. had cow Hort, frail-looking, had suddenly ceased to quiw, ao about the girl's AM and bad colled UramMlm and shoulders, holding her ao firmly that all her effort# to free herself remained absolutely useless. "The "green branches, ao rigid btfMt, began to cot led themsehrea round and writhe, and round like snakes. struggled, Tben. as tbe BUM there arose for a horrible sight I shall sever to rtee, atari?, get-the great loaves bet an slowly. were Those evil-looking thorns very on now the Inside, pointing towards the victim and closing cm her with the force of as hydrauUo press. tr*e/

seemlngiy

saoment

WEEK "As they
down the
cane

THE

TSAf

S&TTT8.
there trtgdoA

together tightly

a trunk pinkish mixture/ wUoVtfco maddened natives fought and trod each otfcor to get one down mouthful oft-tfct tatesWtttF

fluid from the tree and the blood of the htUMMl sacrifice. the "Then much feasting began again, amid rejoicing. devil The was appeased." The plant described by Dr. Leche has more points in common, the Vibm perhaps, with flytrap than other. Dr. George W. CrtW any describes this as an inconspidioos, ]ow-growiac All day plant. long its trap-leaves staatf agape, waiting for prey. On the incite surface* ot each staff, blvalre-like leaf is some sticky, sweetish to insects. Along comes attractive an unlvcky

insects. Along comes an unlvcky he step* into one at tho it closes him with a upon he is a "goner." snap, and Dr. Orile the be says ex U plant it to Che fames posed of ether or chloroform Ifcoes consctousoess (or the time Mai, Jus* ffin a man, and its traps do not respond to Irrita tion while tho effect of the anaesthetic lasts. juiciest an« moat The appetising fly eta walk all over without them peril of captare. tho Iote&se interest the 0 story of tfct botaaista. Madagascar tree 'has arouses among (comments there are who frill "81ftlags") some it is impossible. It la to bo fempo* dare say that a scieatiftc expedition will MOB go la tfca place indicated and make a careful «tudy «C plant. tho extraordinary
to
fly.

attractive

Lnsuspectiag, traps. Instantly

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