A couple have lost their beautiful three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son after a tragic accident unfolded in the children’s grandmother’s garden.

Jhofran, 5 and Amira, 3 were visiting their grandmother in the village of Montecitos in Colombia when they went to play in the garden. The siblings got hungry so picked some red fruit from a thevetias ahouai tree – known locally as “bola de tora”.

poisonous plant
This poisonous fruit tree killed two siblings in Columbia. Source: Facebook

All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans, including the fruit which the kids innocently thought were apples.

Poisonous fruit tragedy

Jhofan consumed six poisonous fruit ‘apples’ while his sister consumed four. Both children began to experience convulsions soon after eating the fruit.

The children thought they were apples and ate them. At the time, nothing happened, but hours later they started to vomit and showed all the symptoms of poisoning,”-  neighbour Jesus Elias Vanegas told local news publication Noticias RCN.

The siblings were rushed to a local hospital but the family didn’t have adequate insurance to pay for immediate treatment.

Tragically the siblings remained in hospital for two days before they were transferred to the ICU unit. It was at this time they received the serum to counteract the poison.

Insurance ‘didn’t count for much’

But it was too late. Amira died in intensive care. Her brother was set to be transferred to another hospital but he went into cardiac arrest on the way and also died.

The devastated parents have spoken out about the event, explaining that they are from “Venezuela and the insurance they had didn’t count for much.”

The children will be buried in a nearby town of Ocana and the parents will most likely return to Venezuela without their children.

In the wake of the tragedy, Montecitos police commissioner Jesus Emilio Sanchez also ordered all residents of the village to destroy the poisonous fruit trees in the area.

Our thoughts go out to the family.

While the thevetias ahouai tree is native to South America and does not grow in Australia, it’s important that we are aware of some of the poisonous plants that are native to Australia. It’s also important to inform our children not to eat any native plant.

Poisonous plants to be aware of

Some of the Australian native plants that are known to be toxic to humans include (information found Australian Geographic).

Black Bean –  Native to Queensland and New South Wales, the black bean, or ‘Moreton Bay chestnut’ produces large pods filled with toxic seeds that weigh roughly 30g each. Ingesting the seeds can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and can be serious if medical attention is not sought.

Strychnine tree –  The medium-sized strychnine tree is native to South East Asia and Australia.This tree bears small, orange-coloured fruits with highly poisonous seeds that are neurotoxic – they harm the body’s nervous system, causing convulsions, paralysis and even death.

Angel’s trumpets – These common garden plants are highly toxic, particularly their leaves and seeds. Rich in alkaloids such as scopolamine and hyoscyamine, if ingested by humans, the trumpets can cause diarrhoea, confusion, migraines, paralysis and even death.

Deadly nightshade – Also known as ‘devil’s berries’ or ‘death cherries’, the deadly nightshade plant and its berries are very poisonous and contain tropane alkaloids that cause hysteria, hallucinations, erratic behaviour and delirium. Ingestion of a single leaf or about 20 berries can be fatal to adults, and smaller doses can cause similar harm to children.

Oleander – People who come into contact with the plant may experience mild irritation on their skin but a greater risk is posed if any part of the plant is ingested, particularly by children, as this can be fatal.

Milky mangrove –  Found in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales as well as Asia and some Pacific Islands, the milky mangrove grows in areas close to sea level and can survive dry open space and exposure to sea salt. The milky sap of this plant is highly poisonous and can cause temporary blindness if it comes into contact with a person’s eyes. Other side effects can include skin irritation and blistering.

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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