The oleander, or Nerium oleander, is considered to be the most poisonous plant in the world. What makes it so poisonous and is it dangerous to have one? Let’s learn about this very pretty plant and why special care needs to be taken if you have one.
What Makes It Deadly?
There are two main poisons found in the oleander. One is neriine and oleandrin. Oleandrin is known to affect the digestive system and then the heart. This drug is primarily in the sap of the tree. So by cutting the plant, or pruning you can get this poison on your hands. You should always wear gloves when working around the oleander plant.
Should you be worried?
You do need to be cautious. The leaves are bitter in taste and are usually not eaten by wild animals. However pets and some farm animals have gotten sick and even died from eating a few leaves. While unlikely that your child will eat the leaves or flowers of this plant, if they did, it is possible to be fatal. Here in Florida you may notice or have seen an orange caterpillar with black hairs. These are known as Oleander Caterpillars. They actually become poisonous from eating the plant. If you are interested to learn more, look for a future post about this insect.
3 Ways To Stay Safe
If you have one of these beautiful plants in your yard you need to be cautious. Here are some tips for staying safe.
- When pruning, trimming or cleaning up leaves off the ground of this plant, make sure you put on gloves. This will keep any sap from getting on your hands and irritating your skin and causing a reaction.
- Don’t touch your face. Your face is one place on your body where irritants and viruses can quickly get into your body. This can be through the eyes, nose and mouth. For the same reason you should not to touch your face because of COVID-19, avoid touching your face if you are working near this plant. It might be best to wash the gloves to avoid the chemicals in the plant.
- Be careful with pets and children. While it’s unlikely either will eat the leaves on their own (its been said they are bitter) accidental or unintentional contact could make them sick. It’s even been reported that some have gotten sick by using a branch of the tree to cook hotdogs or marshmallows when camping.
Here at Problem Solved Pest Control we make sure you entire property is safe. Keeping pests from damaging lawns and shrubs, to keeping bugs and rodents from getting into your home. We have many different pest control programs for you to choose from. We look forward to meeting you.