Thursday, 17 December 2015

MELBOURNE STREET TREES 139 - OLEANDER

Nerium oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae, toxic in all its parts. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. It is most commonly known as oleander, from its superficial resemblance to the unrelated olive Olea. It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though southwest Asia has been suggested. Oleander is one of the most poisonous of commonly grown garden plants.

Oleander grows to 2–6 m tall, with erect stems that splay outward as they mature; first-year stems have a glaucous bloom, while mature stems have a grayish bark. The leaves are in pairs or whorls of three, thick and leathery, dark-green, narrow lanceolate, 5–21 cm long and 1–3.5 cm broad, and with an entire margin. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink to red, 2.5–5 cm diameter, with a deeply 5-lobed fringed corolla round the central corolla tube. They are often, but not always, sweet-scented. The fruit is a long narrow capsule 5–23 cm long, which splits open at maturity to release numerous downy seeds.

Oleander grows well in warm subtropical regions where it is extensively used as an ornamental plant in landscapes, in parks, and along roadsides. It is drought-tolerant and will tolerate occasional light frost down to −10 °C. It is commonly used in landscaping freeway medians in California, Texas, and other mild-winter states in the Continental United States because it is upright in habit and easily maintained. Its toxicity renders it deer-resistant. It is tolerant of poor soils and drought. Oleander can also be grown in cooler climates in greenhouses and conservatories, or as indoor plants that can be kept outside in the summer.

Oleander flowers are showy and fragrant and are grown for these reasons. Over 400 cultivars have been named, with several additional flower colours not found in wild plants having been selected, including red, purple, pink, and orange; white and a variety of pinks are the most common. Many cultivars also have double flowers. Young plants grow best in spaces where they do not have to compete with other plants for nutrients. Thailand has produced miniature sized Nerium plants to use in ornamental gardening.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




5 comments:

  1. not at all possible to get them like this in Germany!
    Herzlich Pippa

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  2. Nice shots, Nick. Haven't seen Luna Park for decades, although did see the entrance to Sydney's Luna Park last week. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Floral Friday bloggers.

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  3. Really beautiful to look at; toxic in all its parts! *nod* I remember that from childhood.

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  4. Oleanders are such beautiful plants. Mother has them in our yard and as a child she was always reminding me not to eat them or put my hands in my mouth after touching them because they were poisonous. This is one amazing bush in bloom.

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  5. They are a beautiful plant when in flower. I remember arning our kids not to touch the one we had in our yard in Sydney as we were warned about them being poisonous. Our neighbours here had one next to the back yard fence that was shading a part of my veggie garden & I asked the elderly gent if he minded if I trimmed it on my side of the fence. He said to cut as much away as I wanted. Later that day I started feeling really sick. I Googled about them & it said that even dust settling on the leaves will absorb the poison & can make you really sick if it gets on your skin or is inhaled. The neighbour's sons recently removed the whole thing & their Mum had told them what happened to me. They had gloves, dust masks, long sleeves & pants for the job.

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