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Plantidote of the Day 2011-09-26

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oleander

Nerium oleander

Oleander

Oleanders are big (20 feet tall or more), impressive bushes that bloom almost all year long. They're used here in Zone 10 for privacy hedges and to landscape areas that aren't very plant friendly, like roadsides and freeway interchanges. There's a huge range of colors and different flower forms. Some are even fragrant, but I have no idea what they smell like.

There's only one downside to oleanders -- they're poisonous. Actually, the milky sap is the problem, but it's not one to take lightly. Children should not play around these plants and if you have a pet that likes to chew on branches, an oleander could be lethal. Even inhaling smoke from a burning oleander can make you sick. Other than that, though, these plants are great -- extremely low maintenance and drought tolerant. Interesting fact: Galveston, Texas, has the largest collection of oleanders anywhere in the world!

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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