This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
That the Oleander is a very poisonous plant is certain. It was the Rhododendron of the ancients, and most likely much of the poisonous character reported to be possessed by the modern Rhododendron, has no more foundation than that it happens to bear a name formerly belonging to a very different plant. But with this general knowledge of the poisonous properties possessed by the Oleander, we do not know of any case of injury in the East, though it is grown in almost every garden from Maine to Florida. But in the Pacific papers we once in a while see a warning note. We give the following from a California paper, chiefly as a matter of news, only remarking that we believe the statements show signs of reportorial exaggeration, which too often go in these days as evidences of peculiar fitness for a reportorial course:
" Every summer, when the beautiful oleander is in bloom, some cases of persons being poisoned by this flower have been recorded. Last year a young lover at Oroville was nearly fatally poisoned, by chewing the leaves of an oleander bouquet, given him by his sweetheart, and a young gentleman and lady at Marysville, came near climbing the "golden stairs," by chewing the twig of an oleander bush. This flower is usually of a rich pale red, but is sometimes white, and is a lovely, sweet scented bloom; but the wood and all parts have a poisonous action, resembling that of digitalis, and is best treated by a judicious use of stimulants. The first instance of poisoning this year, has just reached a Record reporter, who was informed by a person conversant with the facts. One evening last week, a young lady named Sadie Meeker, residing with her parents, near Vina, carelessly chewed an oleander bud. In a short time afterward she was taken deathly sick, and probably would have died had not medical assistance been immediately brought from Tehama. Her mouth and face were distorted out of recognition, and the pains suffered by the girl were most intense.
Happy to relate, though, she is now recovering, but her once pretty mouth now looks like a piece of raw liver." - Chico Record.