The dangers of oleander

Fascinating article by Clive Muir and Sue Eatock on the dangers of oleander (Nerium oleander) which at the start of summer flourishes luridly along Spain’s riverbeds and motorways. Despite its use in municipal planting schemes and private gardens this plant is extremely toxic.

They write “it contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people – especially young children. The toxins include oleandrin and neriine, which affect the heart, and the bark contains rosagenin, which acts in a similar way to strychnine. The entire plant including the sap is harmful. Even after drying, the leaves are still dangerous. A single leaf holds enough poison to kill a small child. In the past crushed, dried leaves mixed with stale bread have been used as a very effective rat poison…” Read on Olve Press (not for the faint hearted!)