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Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Natural History

Oleander is a member of the Apocynaceae (or Dogbane) Family. It appears as an evergreen perennial bush to 15 feet in height and has dark green spear-shaped leaves and fragrant white, red or orange blossoms. Oleander is a not native to the southwest, it was brought to the US from the Mediterranean.

All parts of the Oleander plant are very poisonous. One leaf may be enough to cause death to a child. The characteristic poisoning symptoms are: nausea, vomiting, accelerated or retarded heartbeat, and cardiac arrest.

Oleander (which means olive-like) blooms between May and October and produces white, pink or yellow flowers with 5 petals that grow in clusters at the end of each branch. The bush is cultivated as a decorative plant in many countries all over the world and is a very common landscape plant in Arizona.

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