Sunday, 9 October 2016

Nerium oleander

"Pink Oleander (Nerium oleander)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Nerium oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, and is toxic in all its parts. Oleander is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium

Oleander tree and shrub
Source: ©  
N. oleander is most commonly known simply as oleander. So called, it is thought, due to its superficial resemblance to the unrelated olive tree whose oil was known in Latin as Olea. Comparing the photo of the Oleander tree (see photo at right), you can easily see a superficial resemblance to the European Olive tree. (see photo below).

Olive Tree (Olea europaea) 


Oleander shrub showing the longer leaves
Source:  Wikipedia
The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink to red consisting of 5 petals around a central corolla tube. They are often, but not always, sweetly scented. The leaves are in pairs or whorls of three, thick and dark green in colour. The leaves of the tree-type oleander are smaller in size, more like those of the olive tree, while the leaves of the shrub type (see photo at left) tend to be longer and broader. 

Interestingly, the oleander flowers require insect visits to set seed but since the flowers are nectarless and offer no real reward to their visitors, the plant is pollinated through what is known in evolutionary theory as the “deception mechanism”. Similar to the orchid, oleander’s showy corolla acts as a potent advertisement to attract pollinators from a distance. Although the plant gives the insect nothing, the insect's brief visit gives the plant what it needs for continuing pollination. 

Obviously, since all parts of the oleander plant are toxic to some degree, they should not be ingested, rubbed on the skin or used in the preparation of food. Knowledge of the poisonous nature of this plant has led to the creation of an “urban legend” about a family (sometimes it’s a scout troop) all succumbing to oleander toxins after using small oleander branches for roasting hot dogs and/or marshmallows over a campfire! 

And, finally, a mystery – what is the exact origin of the genus name of Nerium? It could have been derived from the Greek, Nerion, which supposedly refers to the Greek Sea God, Nereus, and his daughters, the Nereides. It has also been suggested that the Greek word, nerion, is derived from the Greek word, neros, which means moist and refers to the wet places where the oleander plant grows wild. 

Whatever the source, the name remains... Nerium oleander or, simply, oleander.

Much of the above text was taken from various Internet sources.


Suki was sleeping in the sunlight --
until I came along and bothered her by
taking a photo! (enhanced using Sketch Artist)
Another week with nothing much to report about Suki. She has been her usual self and done her usual things.

It is a continuing battle as I try to make certain that Suki keeps off the weight she has lost.  She has a real talent for begging for food so piteously that it takes all my willpower to refrain from giving her just a bit extra.

On the other hand, I have had a busier week than I would have liked.  As I mentioned last Sunday, I did have company early in the week, but that was a very enjoyable visit and did not cause me any difficulties.  However, my medical appointments on Thursday were a different matter.

First of all, let me just say that I would have had an easier time of things if I had not experienced a serious, senior moment Thursday morning prior to leaving for my appointments at the hospital. Although I knew the time for my first appointment, and had even written it down in my date book, for some mysterious reason, I started thinking my appointment was at a different time! So, I planned my morning accordingly.

It was only when I was in the hospital elevator on my way to my first appointment that I checked my appointment slip and discovered that I was already 45 minutes late!  There was nothing I could do then except explain to the receptionist what had happened, apologize and ask her to give me the next available appointment.

Instead of reprimanding me, however, the nice, young lady, told me to sit down and wait while she checked to see if the doctor could fit me in at the end of his morning schedule.  If he could, then she would arrange for me to have the required breathing test before I saw him.  The doctor said "yes" and so then I began the waiting process.

After playing numerous games of Solitaire on my phone, I was finally called in to do the breathing test.  I thought I did really well; however, when I finally saw the doctor, I was informed that my lung function has now decreased almost 14% since this time last year.  So, the doctor and I talked about puffers and the importance of using them regularly and not just when you feel like it (this doctor must have a spy camera in my house!).  Finally, it was decided that I would continue using the same puffer but would now use it at least twice daily.  

What made the day so difficult for me, however, was that due to my senior moment, I ended up waiting for my second appointment -- the one with the doctor, himself -- for almost two hours.  So those two hours, combined with the hour and a half I spent waiting for the breathing test and taking the test, totalled about three and a half hours.  Then, when I finally left the hospital, it took me almost 1/2 an hour to get a taxi due to construction on all the streets surrounding the hospital. Let me just say that Thursday night was not a good one for me. 

Suki says:
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
(Photo Source:  Pinterest)
For those of you reading this who do not live in Canada, let me inform you that tomorrow is our Canadian Thanksgiving Day (the second Monday in October).  So, although this may not be your celebration, please allow me to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian style. 



As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
"Icon -- Healing the Lepers, Part 1",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016, revised

They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

"Icon -- Healing the Lepers, Part 2",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”  Luke 17:11-19

No comments: