Nerium oleander

The poisonous effect of the oleander has been well known for centuries. There are data relating to its having poisoned Napoleon soldiers during one of their campaigns.

The oleander is an evergreen perennial bush originating from the Mediterranean. It can reach up to 5 m of height. It has dark green spear-shaped leaves and beautiful fragrant white, red or orange tufty blossoms. It blooms between May and October. The bush is cultivated as a decorative plant in many countries all over the world. All of its parts are very poisonous. For example, one leaf is enough to cause death.
The oleander contains the toxic glycoside oleandrin. The latter can be considered a cardiac glycoside and is very similar to those found in •foxglove• (Digitalis) and •pheasant's eye• (Adonis vernalis).
Nerium oleander
The characteristic poisoning symptoms are as follows: nausea, vomiting, accelerated or retarded heartbeat, and cardiac arrest.