About Oleander

Someone asked about how poisonous Oleander is. From Wikipedia:

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people, especially young children. The toxicity of Oleander is considered extremely high and it has been reported that in some cases only a small amount had lethal or near lethal effects (Goetz 1998). The most significant of these toxins are oleandrin and neriine, which are cardiac glycosides (Goetz 1998). “Cardiac glycocides are naturally occurring” plant or animal compounds “whose actions include both beneficial and toxic effects on the heart” (Desai 2000). They are present in all parts of the plant, but are most concentrated in the sap, which can block out receptors in the skin causing numbness. It is thought that Oleander may contain many other unknown or un-researched compounds that may have dangerous effects (Inchem 2005). Oleander bark contains rosagenin which is known for its strychnine-like effects. The entire plant including the milky white sap is toxic and any part can cause an adverse reaction. Oleander is also known to hold its toxicity even after drying. It is thought that a handful or 10-20 leaves consumed by an adult can cause an adverse reaction, and a single leaf could be lethal to an infant or child. According to the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System (TESS) in 2002 there were 847 known human poisonings in the United States related to Oleander (Watson 2003). There are innumerable reported suicidal cases of consuming mashed oleander seeds in southern India. In animals, around 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight is lethal to many animals, and various other doses will affect other animals (Inchem 2005). Most animals can suffer a reaction or death from this plant.

We still have a lot of clean-up to do out back to get rid of dried old leaves, and we’ll still need to be very alert when Claire is out there.

Explore posts in the same categories: Journal, Motherhood, Nature, Regional

One Comment on “About Oleander”

  1. Cindy Says:

    I grew up in Sacramento with a huge Oleander bush in our backyard. My mom must have put the fear of God in me because I never, ever touched it, nor even considered it. Considering my mom was a huge worrier, I’m very surprised, in retrospect, that she didn’t remove it–I would have.