Poisonous Flowers: What are the Symptoms and Treatment for Nerium Oleander Poisoning?

Aileen TecsonStarred Page By Aileen Tecson, 2nd Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/dfnuzgwr/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Emergency Preparedness>First Aid

Nerium Oleander is consider as one of the world's most poisonous flowers because of its dangerous substances contains in all parts of the plants. It become dangerous to adult, children and animals that it could cause death in some fatal cases of excessive ingestion.


Nerium Oleander is an indoor and ornamental plant of an evergreen shrub of small tree belonging to the Dogbane and Apocynaceae species of plants. The Oleander derives its name from Latin name "oleo" which means oil. When mature the oleander plants produce light brown colored oil with rancid smell in its trunk and shallow roots.
All of the plant parts such as the leaves, pulp, trunk, and even dried leaves and twigs are considers toxic when ingested even in small quantities is consider fatal both humans and animals. Though the oil produces in dried trees toxicity is still unknown.

Oleander grows from 2-6 meter tall with upright stems that splay outward upon maturity. The leaves are characterized by thick, leathery, narrow and dark green leaves. The flower grows in clusters with colors ranging from white, pink to red that is sweetly scented. The wild varieties have varying colors ranging from purple, red, orange and a variety of pink.

The fruits have capsule like appearance. The Oleander grown in cooler climates and consider as indoor and ornamental plants used in landscaping.The Oleander plants grow well even in cold and warmer places. They are native to Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Mediterranean region, Sahara, the Arabian Peninsula, southern Asia, and in southern parts of China. In the USA they are commonly grown in the east coast, outer banks, North Carolina and southern California.


1. All parts of the plants contain the toxic substances of Oleandrin and Nearine which causes cardiac glycosides upon ingestion.

2. The bark contains the toxic substances of Rosagenin which causes strychnine like effects.

3. Ingestion of a handful of 10 to 20 leaves could cause adverse reaction to adult and eating one small leaf could be fatal to an infant.

4. A dose of 100 mg of oleander when given even in small quantity are enough to cause death to cattle’s, grazing animals and ingestion of small leaf could cause death to an adult horse.

5. Drinking from the the infused leaves of oleander is highly forbidden, including chewing, ingesting and even tasting is lethal both to adult and children. Animals that drink from soak fresh leaves of Oleander left in a water container could die of poisoning.

However, Oleander when you preserve it in wine could be used as anti- venom against snake bite.

What are the signs and symptoms of Oleander poisoning?

Ingestion of any parts of the Oleander plants could cause the following symptoms of poisoning such as;
1. Gastrointestinal effects - nausea, vomiting, excess salivation, and abdominal pain, diarrhea with or without blood and in horses could cause colic.

2. Cardiac effects - irregular heart rate, cardiac arrhythmia’s

3. Hyperkalemia is the present of too much potassium in the blood cause kidney failure
4. Central nervous system normal functioning is affected result in muscles tremors, seizures, collapse, and drowsiness.

5. Pale and cold extremities happen due to poor or irregular blood circulation

6. Skin irritation

7. Severe eye inflammation and irritation

8. Skin allergy reactions characterized by dermatitis

9. The symptoms of a poisoned horse include severe diarrhea and abnormal heartbeat.

10. In severe cases may result in death.

Medical Treatment

1. Remove the poison immediately and administered induced vomiting.

2. Administered gastric lavage by taking charcoal to help in absorbing the remaining toxic chemicals left in the stomach.

3. Administered temporary cardiac pacing to eliminate the toxin.

4. Administered Digoxin Immune Fab as a last resort if induced vomiting failed.


It is a wise move to take a lot of care and precaution never attempt to drink, boiled, digest, chew or taste any flowers you really have no real knowledge about their natural contents. It may be safe or poisonous, it is still best to keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is better than none.

In case of emergency cases, a physician should be called to take charge of the case or call the nearest poison center for help. However, a Texan based biotechnology based in Texas is still studying the Oleander as a potential treatment against anti-viral as well as skin cancer.

The Top 30 World Deadliest and Poisonous Flowers

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author avatar Denise O
2nd Apr 2011 (#)

I would have never of known if not for this article. Great job. Funny how some thing so pretty, can also be so deadly. Go figure. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Aileen Tecson
2nd Apr 2011 (#)

hi denise,
I still have to come out soon of similar articles like this so everyone would know how to protect self against poison including the available home remedy. thanks :-)

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author avatar foxpete88
2nd Apr 2011 (#)

good to know..thanks Aileen

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author avatar Aileen Tecson
2nd Apr 2011 (#)

thanks Pete for stopping by :-)

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author avatar Blossom S
2nd Apr 2011 (#)

beautiful flowers.Thanks for sharing.xx

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author avatar WordWulf
3rd Apr 2011 (#)

Great pics. I may never eat another flower. Okay, I can't give up roses:-)

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
3rd Apr 2011 (#)

I try to avoid keeping toxic plants, especially in the yard because leaves often blow into the pasture and such - although I suspect most animals are smart enough not to eat toxic plants - I know animals can smell the poison.

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author avatar JohnH
4th Apr 2011 (#)

excellent now I know. StumbleUpon for good measure.

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author avatar kaylar
5th Apr 2011 (#)

If you burn it, even the smoke is poisonous. It is also, oddly, a member of the 'eggplant' family. A fool right here in Jamaica, hybridised an eggplant with an oleander plant He got huge eggplants. It poisoned him and he died.

The poison is fairly fast acting.

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author avatar Aileen Tecson
8th Apr 2011 (#)

hi blossom,
thanks for stopping by
@ mark,
yeah, animals are intelligent creatures
@ john
thanks for stumbling
@ kaylar,

That pretty scary.. :-)

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author avatar Carolyn Cordon
13th Apr 2011 (#)

I remember when I was a child we had an oleander on our front lawn. If we had one of our horses on the lawn to munch on the grass, Dad always reminded us not to go to close to the oleander!

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author avatar Anonymous
20th Nov 2012 (#)

I wanted to comment on my experience with the Oleander plant....I wanted to test a theory because I am one who loves to live on the edge. I ate many leaves of the Calypso Oleander plant I purchased, yes it made my mouth numb and I could taste the poison but I am still alive and kicking and curious if your info on this poisonous plant is actually in fact accurate. Thank you, some in site may be of use.

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author avatar Talia
20th Feb 2014 (#)

I found posin flowers at school

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author avatar Guss Fierro
3rd Jul 2014 (#)

I accidentally drank two leaves that I made into a tea; it's my third day with awful pains and feeling very sickly; I called the poison control and they said I would be fine, then I visited the emergency room and they told me my blood test was okay ... so it's weird I'm still feeling bad

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