IN the beautiful and luxuriant forests of Queensland, Australia, grows a shrub called the stinging tree, which is very dangerous and even deadly in its effects. A writer in the Scientific American thus describes this poisonous plant:

"If a certain proportion of one's body is burnt by the stinging tree, death is the result. It would be as safe to pass through fires as to fall into one of these trees. They are found growing from two and three inches high to ten and fifteen feet. In the old ones the stem is whitish, and red berries usually grow on the top. It emits a peculiar, disagreeable odor, but it is best known by its leaf, which is nearly round, having a point on the top, and is jagged all round the edge, like the nettle. All the leaves are large, some larger than a saucer. The shrub is usually found growing among palm trees."

Says a traveler, in speaking of the stinging tree, "I was only once stung, and that was very lightly. Its effects are curious. 

It leaves no mark, but the pain is maddening. I have seen a man who treats ordinary pain lightly roll on the ground in agony after being stung.  "The small trees, only a few inches high, are said to be as dangerous as any, being so hard to see, and seriously imperiling one's ankles.

An ancient writer nearly three thousand years ago described a stinging tree far more deadly than that, which grows in the forests of Queensland. Of its effects he says, " It biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."

This poison plant has destroyed millions of victims. It has made their lives unspeakably wretched, and at last deprived them, not only of the present, but, of the future, immortal life. It is not confined to the tropics, but flourishes on every soil and in every climate. There is not a person, young or old, who is not exposed to danger from this deadly Upas, intemperance.

And be it remembered that, like the stinging tree first described, the smaller plants are as poisonous as any, and even more dangerous, because less readily seen. It is the first wrong step, the first cigar, the first glass, that opens the way for the long tide of evil. How many have been lured on to destruction by a seemingly harmless indulgence who would have started back in horror from the drunkard's cup! There is only one rule of safety, that given by the wise man so long ago, 

"Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."

How many of our readers will adopt this rule? 

M. A. D.