Oleander bush tempts, nearly kills baby
Jaffa mother rushes to hospital after her one-year-old son eats plant leaves, which are poisonous.
Michal Simhovich, her son, Dr. Houri_370 Photo: Barak Nona/Wolfson Medical Center
With its pink, red or white flowers and bright green leaves, the oleander could
look attractive, even for munching on, but when a one-year-old baby from Jaffa
chewed some of the plant’s leaves this week, he ended up in the
The leaves of the oleander contain a very potent toxin that is
used to make rat poison.
The Simhovich family went on a family trip in
the area. The baby boy, Hod Ariel, stretched out his arm and pulled at
leaves and flowers from an oleander bush, putting some in his mouth. His mother
Michal, who has a book on plant types at home, quickly recognized the bush as
poisonous and rushed to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon – taking a sample of the
leaves with them.
Dr. Zion Houri, the head of the pediatric intensive
care unit, wasted no time and washed out the baby’s stomach.
immediately that oleander contains a chemical similar to that in digoxin, a
commonly used cardiology drug. In an overdose, it is potentially
The baby was saved and will be discharged in a couple of
Michal urged parents to avoid toxic plants and not to let children
close to species that may be harmful.
Oleander, which by law cannot be
planted near educational institutions, grows up to three meters tall. The
flower’s diameter is about five centimeters. Their aroma gets stronger at
They can be identified by a deeply five-lobed fringed corolla
around the central corolla tube. It doesn’t require much water and thrives even
at traffic islands and at the side of roads. Most animals sense that it is toxic
and stay away.