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Oleander Plants

Monique Reed monique at bio.tamu.edu
Wed Jun 4 08:55:13 EST 1997

>I want to put an Oleander Plant in the back yard but I heard that they
>are poisonous. How poisonous are they? And are they lethal? We've got
>children always running around back there and I don't want anything
>bad to happen.

>How much would have to be injested to kill, if in fact they are
>lethal? And what could I do to protect that from happening?

Oleander is quite poisonous.  All parts of the plants are toxic, as is water 
the cut flowers have been kept in and smoke from burning wood.  My AMA 
handbook doesn't list dosages, but if I remember correctly, a few well-chewed 
leaves can be fatal to a child.

The toxin is similar to digitalis--it interferes with the heart's functioning. 
A lot of very good, very fast ER work would be needed to save someone with a 
severe poisoning.

I would advise not planting oleander until any children around are old enough 
to know not to eat or play with any part of the plant.

M. Reed
Texas A&M

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