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Spring in Dixie

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Uh... Cole... those are oleanders. Our across-the-street neighbor has similar oleander bushes but with white flowers in his front yard.

Colin :wav:

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I wouldn't dream of contributing to an argument about horticulture - I'm a complete bozo on the subject - but if it is Oleander, you need to be careful around it: this from Wikipedia:

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants in the world and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people, especially young children. Despite this fact, it is sometimes grown in school yards.[7] 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.[8] The most significant of these toxins are oleandrin and neriine, which are cardiac glycosides.[8] 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.[5] Oleander bark contains rosagenin which is known for its strychnine-like effects. The entire plant, including the 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 exposures to Oleander reported to poison centers in the United States.[9] There are innumerable reported suicidal cases of consuming mashed oleander seeds in southern India. Around 0.23 mg per pound of body weight is lethal to many animals, and various other doses will affect other animals. Most animals can suffer a reaction or death from this plant.

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What I don't know about horticulture is legendary, but I did know about the lethal characteristics of oleander. They grow prolifically in Southern California, and I was told of their dangers when I moved here.

Where I first lived when I arrived here, there were many oleander plants on the street, as they make great property dividers and are very colorful. I remember being out walking my dog one summer evening and seeing two little girls, probably around five years old, playing in their front yard. Sitting in an oleander bush, which had a hollowed out spot on the ground so that it acted something like their own private cave. I stopped to see what they were doing. The were having a tea party, and using the leaves of the bush for tea. They'd pick them up off the ground, put them in the plastic tea cups they were using, and then pretend to drink them, putting the cups to their mouths.

Evidently either not everyone knows how lethal those plants can be or some parents don't attend their children closely enough. While I was watching, I saw their father pull into the driveway. I don't much like to interfere in other people's business, but I did manage to talk to the man, and he hurried over and stopped the tea party, midst strong complaints from the participants.

So if you ever see two little girls with a strong dislike for me, you'll know why. Damn that old party pooper, anyway!


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There are numerous varieties of oleander and its flowers come in pink, red, and white.

The kind that I have came from the panhandle of Florida where it is cultivated as a landscaping shrub.

There is a variety of oleander that grows wild in California that's significantly different that what grows down here.

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...I wish we had more of the colorful ones, the multi-layered blooms like they do in the South...

And in the North... Northern California, that is, which because of it's magnificent weather has many more varieties of oleander.

Colin :wav:

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