Oleander Facts

Oleander Facts
Oleander is an evergreen plant that belongs to the family Apocynaceae. This plant is native to Morocco, Portugal, China and Mediterranean areas, but it has been naturalized to almost all continents in the world. Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants on the planet. Despite that fact, people cultivate and create new varieties of oleanders due to ornamental morphology of these plants. Oleander grows on the well-drained soil in areas that provide enough sunlight. It lives mostly in warm, tropical climates. Oleander can tolerate drought and temperatures near zero during short periods of time. Besides being popular in horticulture, oleander can be used in the pharmaceutical industry for the production of various remedies.
Interesting Oleander Facts:
Size of oleander depends on the variety. It grows in the form of shrub that can reach from 3 to 20 feet in height. Most species are 8 to 12 feet tall.
Oleander grows quickly, usually 1 to 2 feet per year. Stem is thick and covered with grey bark.
Leaves are thick and leathery. They are narrow and usually 4 to 6 inches long.
Oleander develops yellow, white, pink, light orange and red flowers that are often gathered in clusters, located at the end of the branches. Most species of oleanders produce fragrant flowers.
Fruit of oleander is called capsule. Each capsule contains large number of fluffy seeds.
Oleander is best known by its toxicity. Each part of the plant contains toxins.
Poisoning will be induced even after consumption of minimal amounts of this plant. Whistles made of oleander’s stem can induce poisoning of children. Toxic effects are visible both in humans and animals.
Typical symptoms of oleander poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeats, dizziness and seizures.
Besides via ingestion, poisoning can be induced by touching the plant and tree sap with bare hands. Also, inhalation of smoke of burning oleander induces toxic effects in humans.
Leaves and seeds of oleander are used in the manufacture of medicines for asthma, epilepsy, painful menstrual cycles, warts and other skin conditions.
Polka-Dot Wasp Moth is a type of insects which consumes oleander without visible side effects. It eats all parts of the leaves except veins.
Common Crow Butterfly consumes oleander during the larval stage. By storing toxins in the body, this animal increases its chances for survival (large predators, such as birds, do not consume these larvae).
Despite their toxicity, there are over 300 varieties of oleander that are grown because of their ornamental morphology. The most popular types of oleanders are Algiers, Calypso, Hardy Red, Petite Salmon and Sister Agnes.
Oleander is official flower of Hiroshima. It was the first plant that managed to blossom after devastating effects produced by atomic bomb in the 1945.
Oleander can be easily cultivated and it can survive couple of decades.

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