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Deadly Oleander


Oleander (Nerium oleander) is one of the most poisonous plants, yet it can be found commonly in gardens all over New Zealand. It's appeal is likely due to its beautiful flower arrangements and lush long pinnate leaves, yet not many people are aware of its deadly effects.


The entire plant is highly toxic due to the cardiac glycosides oleandrin and neriine known for their powerful effect on the heart. The side effects of Oleander include; intense abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, dizziness, visual disturbances, rapid pulse, irregular heartbeat and heart malfunction - often causing death. Poisoning has occurred by people using oleander sticks for roasting marshmallows or as kebab sticks, or by drinking water in which the flowers have been placed.


It pays to be careful even when handling these plants, as the sap can cause dermatitis, blistering, irritation or soreness when in contact with the skin. If you do happen to come in to contact with Oleander and notice any of these symptoms, seek medical advice immediately. Wash the affected area with running water and soap, and avoid direct sunlight on the affected area.


Waikato Tree Services can help to maintain or remove your Oleander plants safely. if you would like a quote or free advice on how to best deal with Oleander on your property, give us a call today.