Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. With the beginning of spring rains, oleanders begin blooming, and they'll continue blooming well into fall. These tall shrubs with straight branches that reach up from near the ground to a height of up to twenty feet, produce an abundance of red, white, or pink blossoms. They're also evergreen and very hearty, have few insect pests, and can tolerate heat and the exhaust fumes of vehicles. In addition, oleanders grow well as single shrubs or as trimmed hedges. It's no wonder that oleanders are commonly used in landscaping in southern climates, as plantings in interstate medians, and even as container plants in more northern areas. This seems like a landscape gardeners dream...perhaps, but be aware that oleander can be a nightmare as well. All parts of oleander are poisonous, deadly poisonous. A hot dog or marshmallows cooked on one of those straight oleander branches can kill a human. A single bite from on oleander leaf can kill a child. Smoke from burning oleander branches is toxic. A mouth full of oleander leaves can kill a horse.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.