Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-29
I'm sorry to say there's no interesting story behind this image. It's one of many blossoms on a backyard oleander bush that has been here longer than I have. I just thought it was beautiful, especially the color and the delicate ruffling of the petals. So in lieu of a story, here are some facts about oleanders.
The most important thing to know about these plants is that they're poisonous, every part of them -- the leaves, flowers, roots, everything. People have gotten sick just from roasting a marshmallow on an oleander branch. Even smoke from burning plants can irritate the lungs.
Other than the fact that they're lethal, oleanders are great plants. Not very demanding about soil quality or water, they thrive in hot, dry environments, which is why there are so many of them planted as hedges and along freeways here on the Best Coast.
Just a few years after being planted, an oleander plant can reach as high as 12 feet or more, with the thick foliage creating a lush, green privacy screen. Blossoms begin appearing in spring, and continue through October. The colors include red, pink, peach, and, of course, white, made famous in Janet Fitch's novel, White Oleander.
Readers, please send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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; chantrelles), 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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