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I know that Oleander ( Nerium oleander ) is poisonous. Almost every book and webpage about this plant warns the readers. But how poisonous is this plant? I can touch the leaves without any skin irritation. I can prune it without using gloves. What happens if somebody ( a small child, a dog ) starts chewing a leaf?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to INCHEM:

A single leaf may be lethal to a child (Shaw & Pearn, 1979).

Just below that:

One leaf of N. oleander may be sufficient to kill a sheep (Shaw & Pearn, 1979). The lethal dose of N. oleander leaves reported for several animal species is about 0.5 mg/kg.

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Wiki describes it as 'one of the most poisonous plants in the world', here, and children are known to have died from chewing its leaves, here. Although it only seems to be dangerous if ingested, I would give it a wide berth, particularly if there are children or pets around.

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I know of someone that used oleander branches in their barbecue. It put those that ate the food into the hospital for quite some time. To be fair, someone else cut the branches, the cook didn't know what the wood was.

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