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Maple Leaves

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Maple Leaves

Notes on poisoning: Nerium oleander


General poisoning notes:

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is an ornamental indoor shrub found in Canadian homes and offices. This plant is quite toxic if the leaves or stems are ingested. Humans have died after eating meat that was skewered with oleander stems. Ingesting a single leaf may be toxic to a person. The dry leaves remain toxic. Cattle, horses, and sheep have been poisoned experimentally (Wilson 1909, Kingsbury 1964). Livestock are not likely to have access to oleander in Canada. Children and family pets should be prevented from ingesting green or dry leaves, chewing stems, or sucking the nectar from flowers.

References:

Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Wilson, F. W. 1909. Oleander poisoning of livestock. Univ. Ariz. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., 59. 383-397 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name: Nerium oleander L.

Vernacular name(s): oleander

Scientific family name: Apocynaceae

Vernacular family name: dogbane

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Nerium oleander

References:

Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. , Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.

Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.

Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.

Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.

Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.

Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

Plant or plant parts used in or around the home.

References:

Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.

Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Nerium oleander:

Images: images.google.com

Toxic parts:

all parts
flowers
leaves
stems
young shoots

References:

Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Oleandrin, a cardiac glycoside, is found throughout the plant, including the nectar of the flowers. Smoke from burning twigs is said to be toxic (Fuller and McClintock 1986).

Toxic plant chemicals:

oleandrin

References:

Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Cattle

General symptoms of poisoning:

breathing, rapid
death
heart rate, elevated
mouth, irritation of
pupil dilation

Notes on poisoning:

Experimental poisoning of cattle has shown symptoms that include elevated breathing and heart rate. If a large dose is given, the heart action becomes so low that a pulse is almost undetectable. Green leaves at a rate of as little as 0.005% of a cow''s body weight can cause death (Wilson 1909, Kingsbury 1964).

References:

Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Wilson, F. W. 1909. Oleander poisoning of livestock. Univ. Ariz. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., 59. 383-397 pp.

Horses

General symptoms of poisoning:

breathing, rapid
death
mouth, irritation of
pupil dilation

Notes on poisoning:

Experimental poisoning of horses with fresh oleander leaves resulted in toxic symptoms, including elevated breathing and pulse, greenish feces, some abdominal pain, cold extremities, and a swollen and irritated mouth and tongue. A dose of green leaves equal to 0.005% of a horse''s body weight is sufficient to kill a horse (Wilson 1909, Kingsbury 1964).

References:

Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Wilson, F. W. 1909. Oleander poisoning of livestock. Univ. Ariz. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., 59. 383-397 pp.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

abdominal pains
coma
death
diarrhea
dizziness
drowsiness
dyspnea
mouth, irritation of
nausea

Notes on poisoning:

Humans have been poisoned from using the twigs of oleander to skewer meat or roast frankfurters. Ingesting a single green or dry leaf may cause poisoning. Symptoms include dizziness, abdominal pain, vomiting, unconciousness, bloody stools, and light and rapid pulse. Death has occurred in some cases. Symptoms occur several hours after ingesting a toxic dose (Wilson 1909, Kingsbury 1964).

References:

Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Wilson, F. W. 1909. Oleander poisoning of livestock. Univ. Ariz. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., 59. 383-397 pp.

Sheep

General symptoms of poisoning:

breathing, rapid
death
mouth, irritation of

Notes on poisoning:

Experimental feeding of green oleander leaves has caused elevated breathing, partial unconsciousness, sore mouth and nostrils, discolored mucous membranes, and death (dose: 0.015% body weight of green leaves). Cold extremities and gastroenteritis also occur (Wilson 1909, Kingsbury 1964).

References:

Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Wilson, F. W. 1909. Oleander poisoning of livestock. Univ. Ariz. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., 59. 383-397 pp.

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Date modified: 2009-09-01