The Man Who Turned into a Tree

tree man

A 35-year-old Indonesian man named Dede suffered a simple cut as a teenager and thereafter began growing tree-like warts all over his body. The warts soon worsened into mossy, branching growths, virtually incapacitating him. His wife left him, he was out of a job, and he was made the village freak. Doctors could never figure out what Dede’s condition was, and the growths worsened with each passing year. It wasn’t until an American dermatologist traveled to see Dede’s odd growths and cutaneous horns that the proper diagnosis was made: Dede was simply suffering from HPV, or human papilloma virus. HPV causes warts (frequently of the genital variety) and is quite common in humans. Unfortunately for Dede, he happens to have a rare genetic flaw that causes his immune system to be as weak as someone with AIDS. The chances of this genetic fault? Less than one in a million. Fortunately for Dede, proper treatment and several surgeries offer the promise of a normal life. The doctor is also trying to get more American support for this special patient. Good luck, Dede! (Check out the video here.)

dede hands

- via Neatorama

Update: Find out what’s happened to the Tree Man in the last year and how surgery is improving his life.

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    • Dave

      Hi Sara,

      Many thanks for posting a comment on my blog thanking me for the links I leave there.

      Looking forward to learning more about what you’re up to and to supporting each other on our blogs.

      The tree-sickness pix are something else.


    • whisper

      this is enough to choke a horse. hpv is an std. a good reason to remain celibate.

    • David

      Or a good reason to get vaccinated…..

    • catty

      Erm… he got it through a cut. HPV is very common in the environment- there’s about 100 different types of HPV, roughly 1/2 pf them cause genital warts and others cause things like warts.

      The average public doorknob likely has hpv viruses chillen’ on it. To most of us, touching that doorknob with a cut on our hand will lead to nothing, or a wart at the very worst. This guy has a compromised immune system, hence the disease going haywire and causing the skin growth.

    • catty

      So yeah, it’s more important to be educated about HPV, get frequent exams and be a sensible human being than simply “staying celibate.”

    • mimi

      um….HPV made this dude turn into a tree? whatever…is it just me, or did some American doctor just go over there and diagnose something im sure he’s never seen before….I’ve never heard of anything that turns limbs to wood… except viagra

    • “Mad Tom” Munden

      Methinks the lot of you are seriously gullible. This looks like Hollywood at work, and reeks of Alien Autopsy and bigfootage. Shades of Nessie, when are y’all going to wise up? If this guy can’t be cured, send him my way: I need to do some minor repairs on the property fence and can use the wood.

    • catty

      It’s not hollywood at work. There has been cases of cutaneous horns going buck wild- not to this extent, but it’s happened before.

      Mad Tom, I know that unusual disease may not be a part of your reality, but the human body is capable of a lot of unusual things.

    • catty

      To Mad tom, elephant man was also just make-up, I’m sure.

    • Sara

      Whisper, see Catty’s comment. Then go have sex.

      Mimi, best of luck to you and your man and viagra. :P

      Mad Tom, your cynicism is kinda sad. :(

      Catty, are you a regular reader? Your comments made me laugh. :)

    • catty

      I wandered on this site through a friend sending me a link- I’ll be reading regularly from now on.


    • blah

      61 point resto spec

    • Meow

      The people who think this is a fake picture of a fake disease should take 30 seconds to look it up. You’ll find thousands of references to this disease. It can’t be that all those doctors and researchers are lying.

    • deecee

      In reference to the above picture. I’m really wondering how did he get his “hands” through the sleeves of his shirt. Tell me how.

    • Mike

      deecee – easy answer, he’s not wearing a shirt…

    • lam

      the man is wearing a shirt on the bottom pic

      maybe he grew that too?

    • running

      It’s quite possible that Dede, is wearing a button up shirt to accomidate his tree-like limbs, im pretty sure he didn’t try to squeeze his “hands” into a tiny opening.

    • Wayne

      Americans forget what’s going on in the rest of the world where almost any strange malady can and does still happen. The warts are not wood. They’re warts grown to horrible size. They just look like wood sorta. The guy who said he needed some fence wood was a real prince wasn’t he?

    • Don

      I’m not sure what to believe anymore. One thing I do know is that weird **it happens all the time.

    • karl

      you can see in the picture that the pants and shirt arnt button up….. so how does he get into them????? and is he looked after like a baby? cause he couldnt do anything for himself……

    • Stellar FX

      I think it isn’t true because 1) He’d be in alot of pain 2) If it started when he was 15 he’d be dead by now 3) Notice how unusually big his hands are 4) the man interviewing him is touching him on his hand to demonstrate the oddity without caring if it’s contagious and 5) Outer growths like these alway reflect an internal disease(s) or infection that inevitably affects the organs and lead to death.

    • Stellar FX

      By the way here is a video clip of the interview with him:

    • Dave

      Good god there are some stupid people out there.
      I love that people jump to conclusions and then base all their opinions around that, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary.
      Stllar, for example.
      1. Why would be be in pain? Are warts always painful? No. And these are the same as warts, only his body cannot contain their growth.
      2. Why would he be dead by now? What evidence are you basing this on? There’s no reason to believe this is life threatening, assuming there are people to look after him.
      3. Yes, they are. So what?
      4. Why should the other guy worry about being contaminated? The worst that can happen is he gets HPV, which much (about 60%) of the adult population carries anyway. The guy only has the growths because his immune system can’t cope.
      5. Says who? Cutaneous horns, for example, have been shown to be quite benign, causing no other symptoms other than the horn themself. No damage to organs. It seems to me you’re making up these medical ‘facts’. I had a growth as a baby. And that’s all it was – a growth. No internal disease, no other problem affecting my organs. Just a growth. It didn’t lead to death, and although I had it removed, it wasn’t GOING to lead to death.

    • Stellar FX

      Thanks Dr. Dave for your enlightening comments. You get a medal.

    • SIMON

      Stellar FX,
      HE (dave) TOOOLD YOU!!!

    • Stellar FX

      LOL!! Yes he sure did Simon Says! Would you like to add any other medical facts that are backed by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Perhaps you can TEEELLL all of us something about HPV as well.

    • Sweta-Zinok

      Hi. Sorry for my english. Happy New Year!!!!!
      Good Luck!

    • AprilShowers

      SATAN is something else!

    • Anne

      I watched the documentary on TV last night and it addresses most of the questions. His shirts are specially made. They fit over his head, are zipped up the sides, and then there are ties to sinch up the shirt.

      Yes, he has a cousin that looks after him ‘like a baby’. He needs assistance bathing, dressing, and eating at the very least. You might be surprised though to find out that he smokes (through the aid of a cigarette being inserted into a long holder that is passed through a gap in his ‘roots’). He can move his hands and feet, is capable of walking, etc…

    • Genaro

      Hey i hope you get better real soon.

    • fx

      what about the bubble man? is the doctor not gona help him.?

    • sammie

      this is freaky

    • rek

      My sister says it is fake but it is so meal I know this because I am a nurse and I did the researce. The disease is real people

    • rek

      My sister says it is fake but it is so realI know this because I am a nurse and I did the researce. The disease is real people

    • Aydin

      Hello, I read the whole comments, I saw the all videos about this man.
      I’m sure you all are at different high intelligence level, but from my level I should ask because the things showed me a relation between which is maybe the reason is using plants like ayahuasca? it makes somethings possible and something question marks which someone only will find, and it’s by them to tell. Maybe they told already? Maybe in the life generation this can be happen. Turning to something else which was in previous or will be in the future.

    • Aydin

      Sorry about my English, but from this point it will have a huge place for conversation about what will happen if a man turns to a tree? this is not nice calling him tree man but let’s consider, trees also have life and can live thousands of years :-|

    • SamB

      No, this is not a hoax or doctored video. Dede suffers from the uncontrolled spread of “cornu cutaneum”, or literally “skin horns”. These are not uncommon, but most often take the form of a small growth on the skin. Seldom do they grow to more than a few millimeters.

      Corrnu cutaneum are keratinous growths similar to common warts and in fact are caused by a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes common warts. The difference is that Dede has a compromised immune system (partly due to a genetic defect) which cannot control the growth of these structures. A normal immune system prevents growths such as these from spreading to the extent they have in this case.

      The greatest danger comes from the fact that some cornu cutaneum can have a cancerous lesion at their base. The spread of this cancerous condition concomitant with the spread of the growths can ultimately result in the death of the patient.

      If some form of intervention is not successfully implemented, Dede could die either from cancer or an infection which could develop unnoticed among the growths.

    • gilbertblack

      For Dave and Stellar Fx: Dave, good job! The warts may be contagious, but only if they come in contact with broken skin or mucous membranes. The cutaneous horns are outgrowths of the epidermis and are NOT contagious.

    • shakeem

      yo that is nasty and how it this tranismitted

    • Stellar FX

      Yeah good job gilbertblack! Good job Dave! You both get a medal for rooting each other on! So Gilbert where did you get your doctorate degree? I also see you know many tree men and are proficient in broken skin and mucous membranes.

    • jessie

      stellar.. seriously pull your head out of your @$$ and stop being so rude and asking people about their medical history everybody is entitled to their own opinion… i dont see anyone asking for your doctorate.. hmm?? anyway i think this story is INSANE!!

    • Blazer

      you people should stop giving each other medals and go back to a san francisco gay bar where u belong i hope u all become a tree just like this douch

    • sam

      lol id like to see this guy have a thumb war with somebody,anyway this story is far fetched at best come on u seriously believe this crap?

    • Stellar FX

      My point exactly.

    • http://msn miranda

      I feel really sorry for the poor guy and whoever wrote little jokes about him being a tree man is just plain rude!

    • Mallory

      i think this is very unusual

    • buttercup

      I hope that DeDe and his children get the support that they need.

    • sarah

      I feel sympathy for this guy and some sort of awe. What a brave person and I hope that shallow people everywhere learn from this. I’m a “tree-hugger” you could say. Besides, over 53% of sexually active woman and men between the ages of 18 and 26 have had at least one form of HPV infection. That’s an actual fact that you can verify yourself through the center of disease control website. This guy just got infected from a cut…I think we should be a little MORE than understanding, guys. Lets show some depth.

    • erica

      nasty yo

    • Naomi

      i feel that this is just a sad situation. This man develops all these warts just from an open wound. He now has to be treated like a baby and cannot really do much else. I also heard that his wife had left him once he started developing these warts and left him with his children. If i had to live like this i would find it very hard to be happy and live life like that.

    • steven

      nigga a treee. ill smoke him in a blunt.i waonder if the tree gave him a bigger woody

    • Crystal

      It NEVER ceases to amaze me how stupid some of the people who share this planet with me are.

    • Regrets~

      Guys…dont be so mean to the poor man…not everything like this is crap…or hollywood made. some of us are real you know…and some of us actually go through with real pain…this is life, any thing can happen here. and those who dont understand the condition of the poor man…or other such people out there…are worse than these “craps”. My heart felt symathy for Dede and gratitude for everyone who believes this is true. :)

    • Ally

      For the person who said you can get HPV off a doorknob…WRONG.

      Viruses can’t live on surfaces like that long enough to be transmitted between people. This is the reason why you thankfully can’t get STD’s from toilet seats.

      HPV must be transmitted through either intercourse or skin to skin contact, as in genital to genital contact or oral to genital contact.

    • thee radical eclectic

      from what i heard there are over 500 kinds of HPV and bacteria can live on surfaces for up to 96 hours without becoming active… given that a virus is simply RNA waiting for a living host then its possible that loose tissue could get into ones system and reach the bloodstream

    • Mirabelle

      ok.. some of you guys are really mean. this poor man is ugly and in pain and he needs some sympathy and compassion. i would NOT be able to go through such a difficult situation if this happened to me. so sure hes a tree man on the outside but that doesnt mean hes not a man on the inside. and stds can be transmitted in other ways tha dont include sexual activity. i am majoring in science currently. so get the facts straigh and stellar, you deserve an award for being RUDE. dave, you deserve and award for being RIGHT. and i feel bad for the treeman, you should also

    • travis

      how do u put ur clothes on????

    • NSKI

      How was Dede’s son. That poor guy. You could just see the apathy in his eyes… “why bother hey??? I’m probably gonna turn out like Dad….”

    • Well Wisher

      God bless Dede. Hope he is completely cured soon. He deserves to lead a normal life…..

    • ou led

      i feel sorry 4 him. did he find a new wife? ou led kaka shein

    • sarah

      Can’t wait to see this person get better!

    • danny

      funny as hell what as tree

    • Issac

      as soon as I started to read this article, I can’t stop itching.

    • Death.

      I don’t think is really matters if you people think it’s real or not. I’m sure it is, or it may not be. You should just pray for this man, either way. He needs it.

      And Stellar… You, my friend, are a jerk. Use your head, son. No one cares about anyone’s “medical background”. I might as well as you where you got your doctoratte. If you even have one. If you do, congratulations. But, that doesn’t make you more intelligent than anyone else.
      I’m pretty sure no one cares for you opinion anymore, so stop being stupid and insulting people to make yourself seem smarter or better or whatever the heck it is you’re trying to do.

    • Death.

      Ah, I don’t think it* really matters.

      type-o… my bad!

    • Kadee

      Seriously, this ruined my lunch…although, I feel extremely bad for this person. I hope he gets the help that he needs. Nobody should have to go through something like this…

    • janie

      Death, Dave and Mirabelle…you are all just as much jerks, rude, and stupid to waist time on this important blog with someone like stellar instead of staying on the subject.

    • andrea

      I wonder if research into rabbits with horny wart like growths couldn’t help. There is one in my parents yard. The growths look identical. I think it’s called “shopes virus” in rabbits.

    • Alexa

      how in the world could people be so cynical?
      this man is suffering. outside of your little bubble, there are real people in a much harsher reality. i will pray for this man and i am sad that his case got so severe…all of you should pray for him and his family as well. my heart breaks for the ignorance of people with no compassion towards people like this.

    • Alexa

      how in the world could people be so cynical??
      this man is suffering. outside of your little bubble, there are real people in a much harsher reality. i will pray for this man and i am sad that his case got so severe…all of you should pray for him and his family as well. my heart breaks for the ignorance of people with no compassion towards people like this.

    • Kristina

      Okay, so all I can say here, is WOW!
      Just goes to show, that despite all of Hollywoods glamorization of all that exists, our bodies are capable of breaking down the boundaries of the extraordinary! Who would of thought warts could resemble a tree like appearance, with roots for hands!
      My thoughts go out to Dede, and his family, and all the best to obtaining the medication needed to overcome this disease.

    • Jherek

      Thing like this make me lose the little hope I had that there may be a god. But the response by some of the assholes on this page just makes disgusted and lose faith in mankind. What a bunch of ignorant little assholes.

      This is real. Do your fucking research. It has been documented numerous times, just to a smaller extent. He is in a place where he did not have the means or resources necessary to treat what could have been a simple infection. Fortunately for you little pricks, you’ll never have to experience anything like this because you’re well taken care of by mommy and daddy… UNfortunately, some people aren’t so lucky and you’d do well to learn some empathy and keep that in mind.

      As the article also explains, he has a compromised immune system. That is why it took over. To the idiots who take the title literally, it is NOT turning him into a tree… it’s a rather inconsiderate and callous name some idiot came up with to get more media attention. They’re WARTS that RESEMBLE tree bark. Holy. Shit. :|

    • mahtab khajehnassiri

      I think this man has the dry type of leprosy.

    • janie
    • Heather

      I would love to see an update . I felt sorry for him.
      I also was hoping his country would help his friends in the circus . they looked like they needed help as bad as he did?
      I also think his country got involved only because our doctor here in the United States tried to help..
      anyway may God be with him in his journey.

    • Anne Marie Gulliksen

      I saw the program about Dede and the others who suffers from diseases like HPV. I think it is awful, I feel really sorry for them. I really hope Dede and the others will become well and I wish they all could get money from supportes or others so they wouldnt have to work in that awful sircus or the evil magic show. There are so many cruel people in this world who are mean to others especially to innocent people and animals. I hope one day those evil people will learn by experiencing the same tragedies as these poor people and others have to. I still hope that the evil persons can get well when they have understood the awfulness.
      Anne Marie Norway

    • craig wilson

      this is supposed to be caused by generations of inbreeding.That is how you only see things like this in little poor villages.

    • smudge&midnight

      its geneticly impossible to turn into a plant, human cells are rounded, plant cells are sqaure, so its impossible to mutait into a plant, we have a better chance of turning into a dog.

    • JaCe

      Wow so many non educated people out there..its a growth does a wart hurt NO…i totally agree with DAVE ….ITS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM HIS CANT COPE…

    • Let

      All these people leaving bad comment with questionmarks if it is not real… questionmarks because you think it’s unpossible for him to get on a t-shirt? You should see all the vids made bout him. One of those explains that the brother of Dede customized all of his clothing with special buttons!

    • Teknoloji


    • Brett

      you’re welcome

    • Teknoloji

      who r you?

    • Heather

      people should not make fun of the people like this . How would you feel if this was you I bet you would be pleading for someone to help then.
      I want to thank the doctor (S) for trying to help him. it must be a horrific thing to have to live with..
      Where is all the compassion in this world our world has became mean and nasty and incensitive

    • Teknoloji


    • Brett

      uh…you’re welcome.

    • cosy

      Its reali a sorry look.Thank God for corrective surgery, at least he stands a chance of leading a normal life again.
      People, this is life, thats what it is; the least we can do is show empathy to this man turn tree and wish him luck in the operations not mockin him. What if it happens to you?

    • Octopus

      I feel really bad for this man. Nobody deserves that kind of thing. But.. I geuss thats justlife at its worst.
      Oh, and all of you people who laugh at him or say rude things about him, you need to go and get a heart.
      I bet it it wouldnt be so funny if you had that, now would, i bet you wouldnt be laughing!

    • Skeezix288

      I’m glad to see that there are still some kind people in this world who don’t judge a person by the way he/she looks…what’s on the inside is what matters most!!! As for those people who can only make rude remarks about Dede, please get a life!!!

    • http://blisstree Alexa

      dont make fun of him its not his fault god damn you peopole are so mean ! what if that was you! think about that immature brates

    • roberta

      dam por guy….and thats pretty mest up that his wife left him she should of helped him and been with him by his side…….. and hes not stupied things jst happen

    • Evelyn(:

      I hope he gets well soon!

    • sarah

      God bless this man…I heard he still needs to take antiboiotics and get surgery every-so-often as well as treatment for scars….I can’t believe how cruel the world is, and how we turn our backs to the people who need help more than us, just because we were raised healthy, it doesn’t mean we can’t have sympathy for the less fortunate. I feel bad for Dede and he is definitely on my prayer list,and i pray for u ppl who are mean to him and judge him because of his genetic misfortune, just because i pray for mercy on ur shallow souls. thanks for your time.

    • http://yahoo happyface yang

      I can’t believe the first few comments I read about this article. Those people should really be ashamed of themselves. Put themselves in Dede’s shoes. He is only a human seeking help from others. What right do we have to say bad things of him? Anysways…may God bless him and the doctors who are looking for ways to help him become himself again.

    • Michael

      Humans are Organic, so are trees. Over time, the cut got infected, or seeds got into it. There are many ways seeds could have gotten in there. Some float with the wind, maybe he was walking through brush, or farming and such. 1. Warmth, 2. Sunlight, 3. Moisture, 4. Food(Like water, in this case, maybe some of his blood but humans are what…75% water?). So boom, there you go. Eventually it kept growing, got under the skin, and stretching across the body.

      • JPtheK9

        That’s sorta logical but it’s not true. He got it from a rare HPV (search it up) case. The immune system would have cleaned the seeds so obviously, it could not have started from a tree. I’m guessing you got this idea from a book about how a girl was going to grow into a tree after swallowing watermelon seeds.

      • Honestly

        A south Florida man grew a pea tree in his lung so strange things are possible. Granted this is an hpv related issue, one cannot always rule out possibility based on their boundary of knowledge. I feel bad for this man and I hope he is able to enjoy some of the privileges that life offers and we come to expect or take for granted.
        BBC link to pea germination in human lung:



    • lollypop

      I feel bad for him and im only 10 and it is kinda scary i feel bad for him.

    • James

      i feel really bad for him and hope he gets better.

    • ying

      that is really sad i hope thast he is healed now..

    • leanne

      im sorry it got so far and spread the way it did their are docs that can remove them

    • TPD

      man, thats so sad. What a messed up wife he has, she left him cause he is like that! Im so glad there are still kind people in this world. hope he gets better =)

    • haley

      i feel so sorry for him. it must be awful to be in that conditoin. that just makes me feal awful ):

    • haley

      i think everyone should relize that this is horrible. no one deserves this and no one should be making fun of this man i feel very sorry for him and everyone should but hopfuly he will make it threw because this is the sadest thing ive ever seen but life isnt all perfect well none of it really ever is

    • luna

      he gets better he is lighter now a video in you but its still sad

    • Ralin

      finally!!! someone that actually HAS a heart! im praying daily for this family as should the rest of you!!! Alexa, thank you for speaking out!! its great to know that not everyone in this world is rude and has no compassion!!!

    • PastorJ

      Where did our compassion and empathy go in society? Why is this story so funny that it is okay to make fun of him?

      This man’s pain is far more than many of us could ever imagine. I have been in a position that HPV was a scary reality in my life, (not on me, but the fear of Cervical Cancer after being exposed to the virus) I cannot imagine what he or his wife has went through with this illness and what either of them went through when she decided to leave.

      It is easy to pass judgements on people on how they got this, what they did to get sick or the fact that she just walked out, as I have heard some people say. ONLY DEDE and his WIFE truly know what happened and why she left.

      We need to realize this is real, the pain and suffering is real. We need to pray for healing and for restoration of his family, and for his children who are caring for him and helping him every day. For his brothers and sisters who are caring for him, wiping him and bathing him. NO ONE KNOWS what this family is going through, the WHOLE family. They all need strength.

      Update on Dr. Oz from last week too.

    • PastorJ

      It amazes me how people can be so cruel and make fun of people who are going through these kind of trials and so much pain.

      HPV is not only a sexually transmitted disease, you can be a carrier and not know it, and as Dede got it, he got a scratch on his knee and through the unsanitary conditions in India he got this horrible virus.