Nerium oleander

Family: Apocynaceae
Common name: Nerium, Oleander

Oleanders are so widely cultivated all over the world, that there is no proper history of where they come from. It is believed to have been around since many millennia, and is even mentioned in the Bible as ‘Rose of Jericho’.

Oleanders grow and bloom profusely in almost all growing conditions, and can withstand poor soil, watering and nutrition. The plant can grow to a height of 6 meters, but can also be pruned and grown as a small bush. Without pruning, the plants tend to be gangly and unruly.

Flowers mostly grow in clusters and vary in color from white, yellow, pink, magenta and red, along with many other cultivars. The sap from leaves and stem is toxic to pets and humans, though there are some species of butterflies and moths that are not affected. Oleanders are ornamental plants with almost no other medicinal properties.

There is a related species called Yellow Oleander or Cascabela thevetia with similar leaves, but different flowers. The flowers are yellow and funnel-shaped.

Propagation is from stem cuttings, and from seeds.

Photo Courtesy: love4gardening.com

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