Oleander is as beautiful as it is deadly. The plants contain nerioside and oleondroside, both of which are poisonous to humans and pets. Not only are the leaves, flowers and branches of oleander toxic; honey made from oleander nectar, water from its soil and smoke from its burned branches are all poisonous as well.

Should you ingest any oleander, you may experience: fatigue, rash, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, blurred vision, disorientation and headache. In rare cases (including chronic overdose), you can die.* Which begs the question: why is such a severely poisonous shrub planted so frequently along freeways in California?

Glad you asked! They are used in areas where humans are not likely to walk, such as the side of a freeway. Because Oleander are tall, full evergreen shrubs, they make good screens or natural fences in areas where privacy and noise pollution are a problem, such as the side of a freeway. Moreover, they require plenty of sun but not much water, making them ideal for areas where constant care isn't possible, such as--you guessed it--the side of the freeway! Their pretty flowers are just a bonus.

*If you're chomping on a branch right now, go call poison control. Also glory be to Yahoo! plants and health.

Oleander is also the name of a band from Sacramento, California.

Thomas Flowers- Vocals, Guitar
Ric Ivanisevich- Guitar
Doug Eldridge- Bass
Scott Devours- Drums


Oleander EP- 1996

1. Stupid
2. You'll Find Out
3. Silver Lined
4. Why I'm Here
5. Half An Ass
6. Down When I'm Loaded

Shrinking The Blob- 1997

1. Where Were You Then?
2. Stupid
3. Down When I'm Loaded
4. Why I'm Here
5. You'll Find Out
6. Jimmy Shaker Day
7. Candy Store
8. Silver Lined
9. Half An Ass
10. Shrinking The Blob

February Son- 1999

1. You'll Find Out
2. Stupid
3. Down When I'm Loaded
4. Why I'm Here
5. I Walk Alone
6. Lost Cause
7. Where Were You Then?
8. Shrinking The Blob
9. How Could I?
10. Boys Don't Cry
11. Never Again

Unwind- 2001

1. Come To Say
2. Yours If You Like
3. Are You There?
4. Halo
5. Benign
6. Unwind
7. Goodbye
8. Jimmy Shaker Day
9. She's Up, She's Down
10. Back Home Years Ago
11. Tightrope
12. Champion

Joyride- 2003

1. Hands Off The Wheel
2. Don't Break My Fall
3. Fountain & Vine
4. 30 60 90
5. Rainy Day
6. Off & On
7. Joyride
8. Better Luck Next Time
9. King Of Good Intentions
10. Leave It All Behind
11. Runaway Train


In 1993, Flowers and Eldridge began playing together. Ivanisevicvh joined them two years later, and with the original drummer Fred Nelson Jr.(who left right after February Son), became Oleander after the poisonous flower. The band did not intentionally make the connection with the lead singer's surname, however.

They were a strong local band for quite a few years before signing with a major label. Local disc jockey Curtiss Johnson played "Down When I'm Loaded" from Shrinking The Blob, and this ultimately led to signing with Republic/Universal.

February Son was the record that broke Oleander into the mainstream. It went gold and the single "Why I'm Here" became a #1 rock hit. Unwind's single "Are You There?" also got popular through radio, and this helped them build an even larger fanbase.

Oleander also won over many listeners through extensive touring. They have toured with a number of bands, including Candlebox, Creed, Our Lady Peace, Fuel, and 3 Doors Down.

The Songs Themselves

Flowers describes the band as "a straight-ahead rock n’ roll band" and ignores any other labels or attempts at categorization. Flowers' voice is powerful and invigorating, his lyrics straightfoward, honest and thoughtful. There are no enigmatic phrases or sidetracking in these songs- Flowers writes from a very personal standpoint( one of his favorite songs being "How Could I?", which is specific enough to name his dog.) and does not beat around the bush. The verses often include the kind of wisdom and knowledge gained through pain and experience- not cliche, but certainly truthful.

There are no specific sounds that one can attribute to each album, Flowers' voice changes to match the mood and tone of each song. The melancholy "Why I'm Here" single holds a sharp contrast to songs such as "Down When I'm Loaded" and "Are You There?", and there are many songs ranging in between.

Matching the vocals is the compelling guitar and bass work. The pace of many of the songs requires one to pay attention to distinguish the individual sounds from Flowers' distinct voice and the overall mood of the song, although there are some guitar solos. These, however, are not the drawn-out guitar solos for the sake of guitar solos, but rather the sort that enhance the listening experience.

Overall, Oleander is the sort of band that requires one to sit up and pay attention to what is being said and heard, not from a need to decipher cryptic lyrics or instrumental work that evokes a very specific mood, but because the music is not general or monotone enough to simply be absorbed through one's ears into the brain. Each song is well worth at least a first listen, and this band has talent and originality enough to warrant that consideration.


O`le*an"der (?), n. [F. ol'eandre (cf. It. oleandro, LL. lorandrum), prob. corrupted, under the influence of laurus laurel, fr. L. rhododendron, Gr. ; rose + tree.] Bot.

A beautiful evergreen shrub of the Dogbane family, having clusters of fragrant red or white flowers. It is native of the East Indies, but the red variety has become common in the south of Europe. Called also rosebay, rose laurel, and South-sea rose.

⇒ Every part of the plant is dangerously poisonous, and death has occured from using its wood for skewers in cooking meat.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.