Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oleander Sticks

By Bobbi

Florida is filled with many kinds of flowering shrubs, bushes, trees, and plants. Some of them give off scents that are delicious to smell and their colorful blooms are delightful to the eyes. That is what helps make this area of the country so beautiful and enjoyable.

Oleander bushes are no exception. They produce blossoms in tints of white, pink, red, and fuchsia and smell good, too. Apparently, they are popular, at least in our neighborhood, because I see them everywhere and there is even a street named for them.

I’m reminded of a tale I heard shortly after moving down here, one of caution about dealing with oleander. It seems a family was traveling in our state for the first time and decided to have a cookout. They needed sticks to use for roasting hot dogs over a bonfire and went out looking for some. Well, that family ended up choosing branches from an oleander bush.

Now, in all fairness, that would have seemed the perfect choice because oleander branches tend to be long and narrow. A perfect fit for the hot dogs. It’s what they didn’t know that caused the problems.

All parts of an oleander bush are toxic, or poisonous, which the family would have found out fairly soon after ingesting their meal. I’m told the members of that family ended up dying. Whether they did pass away or just ended up very sick from their experience, the fact remains oleander is beautiful but you must be careful handling the plant.

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