Wednesday, June 17, 2015


After our trip to Rome, the group headed to Sorrento for the weekend. Along the way, we stopped at Pompeii for a few hours to see the ruins of a once great town.

Once we were there, one plant caught my eye, the Nerium oleander. It was growing all along the wall close to the train station as well as in the surrounding areas. Oleanders are an evergreen shrub or small tree with vibrant pink flowers and long, thin green leaves. All of its parts are poisonous, and it is one of the most poisonous commonly grown garden plants. The plant contains cardiac glycosides, which are poisonous when ingested. 

Oleanders have a special place in my heart, as there was a huge oleander plant by my grandparents' driveway when I was growing up. Since there were beautiful pink flowers, I always wanted to pick them. I would grab a handful of flowers and bring them inside for my family. My grandma would yell for me not to eat them or put my hands in my mouth without washing my hands first. I didn't understand why until I was older, and I learned that these plants were poisonous. Ever since then, I have been aware that beautiful plants are not always as harmless as they appear.


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