Nerium oleander

Nerium oleander L.

Common Names: Oleander

Family: Apocynaceae

Habit: Nerium oleander grows as glabrous shrub up to 6 m in height.  The leaves are arranged oppositely or in whorls, to 30 cm long, 4 cm wide, with an entire leaf margin, acute apex and cuneate leaf base.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in clusters in leaf axils.  The calyx has 5 unfused, green sepals.  The corolla has 5 red, white, or pink petals that are fused forming a tube with the lobes overlapping to one side forming a pinwheel shape. There are 5 stamens fused to the corolla tube.  The ovary is superior and has two locules and many ovules.  The fruit is a follicle (in pairs) that turns brown at maturity.  The seeds have tufts of hairs at one end to assist in dispersal.

Habitat: Nerium oleander grows in Human Altered environments (yards and roadsides).

Distribution: Nerium oleander is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago.  It is native to northern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent.  It is grown throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Nerium oleander is not used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

It is used as an ornamental.

Nerium oleander is EXTREMELY toxic in all parts.  Eating any part of the plant can cause nausea, vomiting, heart problems, hypotension, and death.

Extracts have been used to treat heart problems, snake bites, cancer and leprosy and as an antibacterial agent.