IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Brief Summary

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Brief Summary

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is an evergreen shrub that is widely cultivated as an ornamental in warm areas of the world. A variety of cultivars with sometimes fragrant deep-red, pink, cream, or white flowers are known, but the wild form always has pink flowers that are only mildly scented. (Herrera 1991 and references therein)

Oleander is known to be toxic to a range of mammals, including humans, and other animals (Shropshire et al. 1992; Aslani et al. 2004; Milewski and Khan 2006; Soto-Blanco et al. 2006; Barbosa et al. 2008; Kozikowski et al. 2009; see review by Langford and Boor 1996). However, human mortality associated with Oleander ingestion is generally very low, even in cases of intentional consumption (suicide attempts). Oleander foliage appears to be unpalatable to most animals, which reduces accidental ingestion. Bandara et al. (2010) reviewed medical aspects of human poisoning by Oleander and the related Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana).

Oleander contains cardiac glycosides of the cardenolide type. The main cardiac glycoside of Oleander is oleandrin (C32H48O9, molecular mass=576.3), but Oleander leaves and seeds contain more than 30 different cardiac glycosides. (Wasfi et al. 2008)

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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team

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