Golden fluff

These golden balls of fluff are the seed capsules of the oleander, our most prolific shrub. Oleanders – or ‘elfas’ as Pablo calls them – grow wild everywhere here. They are tough as anything and seem to survive in the driest, barren hillsides. For us, they are maintenance-free, covered with flowers and grow to imposing heights, up to 6 metres.

They are toxic in parts, particularly to animals when consumed in large quantities, though we have never experienced any difficulty. We enjoy the red, pink and white flowers. Everything about the oleander is big; and its fruit capsule can grow up to 9 inches long.

5 to remember
la adelfa – the oleander
dorado/a – golden
una bola de pelusa – a ball of fluff
prolífico/a – prolific
un arbusto – a shrub

One thought on “Golden fluff

  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    Oleander is common in Hawaii and California as well, though I doubt they’re native. As to the poison: very dangerous. Years ago, someone kept a small herd of goats and sheep next to a city park in Orange County, CA. Oleander grew nearby. Some teens got it into their heads to feed the critters in the small pasture, and picked oleander leaves. I don’t know if they realized the leaves were poisonous, but they fed quite a few of the critters, and many of them died. They can be very dangerous to children as well, because the flowers are pretty and fragrant. When we lived in Hawaii, we children were always told not to touch the plants at all. Like the rest of the plant, the pods are charming – I’m not sure if they’re also toxic. Case of the pretty poison. Janet Fitch wrote a wonderful book called White Oleander in which the poison played a significant part.

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