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"Arali" redirects here. Nerium_sentence_0

For the underworld in Babylonian mythology, see Irkalla. Nerium_sentence_1

"Oleander" redirects here. Nerium_sentence_2

For other uses, see Oleander (disambiguation). Nerium_sentence_3

This article is about the species of plant. Nerium_sentence_4

For the multi-level marketing firm Nerium International, see Neora LLC. Nerium_sentence_5


Scientific classification NeriumNerium_header_cell_0_1_0
Kingdom:Nerium_cell_0_2_0 PlantaeNerium_cell_0_2_1
Clade:Nerium_cell_0_3_0 TracheophytesNerium_cell_0_3_1
Clade:Nerium_cell_0_4_0 AngiospermsNerium_cell_0_4_1
Clade:Nerium_cell_0_5_0 EudicotsNerium_cell_0_5_1
Clade:Nerium_cell_0_6_0 AsteridsNerium_cell_0_6_1
Order:Nerium_cell_0_7_0 GentianalesNerium_cell_0_7_1
Family:Nerium_cell_0_8_0 ApocynaceaeNerium_cell_0_8_1
Subfamily:Nerium_cell_0_9_0 ApocynoideaeNerium_cell_0_9_1
Tribe:Nerium_cell_0_10_0 NerieaeNerium_cell_0_10_1
Genus:Nerium_cell_0_11_0 Nerium


Species:Nerium_cell_0_12_0 N. oleanderNerium_cell_0_12_1
Binomial nameNerium_header_cell_0_13_0

Nerium oleander /ˈnɪəriəm ˈoʊliːændər/, most commonly known as oleander or nerium, is a shrub or small tree belonging to subfamily Apocynoideae of the dogbane family Apocynaceae and is cultivated worldwide in temperate and subtropical areas as an ornamental and landscaping plant. Nerium_sentence_6

It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. Nerium_sentence_7

It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though it is usually associated with the Mediterranean Basin. Nerium_sentence_8

Nerium grows to 2–6 m (7–20 ft) tall. Nerium_sentence_9

It is most commonly grown in its natural shrub form, but can be trained into a small tree with a single trunk. Nerium_sentence_10

It is tolerant to both drought and inundation, but not to prolonged frost. Nerium_sentence_11

White, pink or red five-lobed flowers grow in clusters year-round, peaking during the summer. Nerium_sentence_12

The fruit is a long narrow pair of follicles, which splits open at maturity to release numerous downy seeds. Nerium_sentence_13

Several compounds in nerium exhibit toxicity, and it has historically been considered a poisonous plant. Nerium_sentence_14

However, its bitterness renders it unpalatable to humans and most animals, so poisoning cases are rare and the general risk for human mortality is low. Nerium_sentence_15

Ingestion of larger amounts may cause nausea, vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and irregular heart rhythm. Nerium_sentence_16

Prolonged contact with sap may cause skin irritation, eye inflamation and dermatitis. Nerium_sentence_17

Etymology Nerium_section_0

The origins of the taxonomic name Nerium oleander, first assigned by Linnaeus in 1753, are disputed. Nerium_sentence_18

The genus name Nerium is the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek name for the plant nẽrion (νήριον), which is in turn derived from the Greek for water, nẽros (νηρός), because of the natural habitat of the oleander along rivers and streams. Nerium_sentence_19

The word oleander appears as far back as the first century AD, when the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides cited it as one of the terms used by the Romans for the plant. Nerium_sentence_20

Merriam-Webster believes the word is a Medieval Latin corruption of Late Latin names for the plant: arodandrum or lorandrum, or more plausibly rhododendron (another Ancient Greek name for the plant), with the addition of olea because of the superficial resemblance to the olive tree (Olea europea) Another theory posited is that oleander is the Latinized form of a Greek compound noun: οllyo (ὀλλύω) 'I kill', and the Greek noun for man, aner, genitive andros (ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός). Nerium_sentence_21

ascribed to oleander's toxicity to humans. Nerium_sentence_22

The etymological association of oleander with the bay laurel has continued into the modern day: in France the plant is known as "laurier rose", while the Spanish term, "Adelfa", is the descendant of the original Ancient Greek name for both the bay laurel and the oleander, daphne, which subsequently passed into Arabic usage and thence to Spain. Nerium_sentence_23

The ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco may have taken its name from the Berber name alili or oualilt for the flower. Nerium_sentence_24

Description Nerium_section_1

Oleander grows to 2–6 m (6.6–19.7 ft) tall, with erect stems that splay outward as they mature; first-year stems have a glaucous bloom, while mature stems have a grayish bark. Nerium_sentence_25

The leaves are in pairs or whorls of three, thick and leathery, dark-green, narrow lanceolate, 5–21 cm (2.0–8.3 in) long and 1–3.5 cm (0.39–1.38 in) broad, and with an entire margin filled with minute reticulate venation web typical of eudicots. Nerium_sentence_26

Leaves are light green and very glossy when young, before maturing to a dull dark green. Nerium_sentence_27

The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink to red, 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) diameter, with a deeply 5-lobed fringed corolla round the central corolla tube. Nerium_sentence_28

They are often, but not always, sweet-scented. Nerium_sentence_29

The fruit is a long narrow pair of follicles 5–23 cm (2.0–9.1 in) long, which splits open at maturity to release numerous downy seeds. Nerium_sentence_30

Taxonomy Nerium_section_2

Nerium oleander is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. Nerium_sentence_31

It belongs to (and gives its name to) the small tribe Nerieae of subfamily Apocynoideae of the dogbane family Apocynaceae. Nerium_sentence_32

The genera most closely-related thus include the equally ornamental (and equally toxic) Adenium G.Don and Strophanthus DC. Nerium_sentence_33

- both of which contain (like Oleander) potent cardiac glycosides that have led to their use as arrow poisons in Africa. Nerium_sentence_34

The three remaining genera Alafia Thouars, Farquharia Stapf and Isonema R.Br. Nerium_sentence_35

are less well-known in cultivation. Nerium_sentence_36

Synonymy Nerium_section_3

The plant has been described under a wide variety of names that are today considered its synonyms: Nerium_sentence_37


  • Oleander Medik.Nerium_item_0_0
  • Nerion Tourn. ex St.-Lag.Nerium_item_0_1
  • Nerion oleandrum St.-Lag.Nerium_item_0_2
  • Nerium carneum Dum.Cours.Nerium_item_0_3
  • Nerium flavescens SpinNerium_item_0_4
  • Nerium floridum Salisb.Nerium_item_0_5
  • Nerium grandiflorum Desf.Nerium_item_0_6
  • Nerium indicum Mill.Nerium_item_0_7
  • Nerium japonicum GentilNerium_item_0_8
  • Nerium kotschyi Boiss.Nerium_item_0_9
  • Nerium latifolium Mill.Nerium_item_0_10
  • Nerium lauriforme Lam.Nerium_item_0_11
  • Nerium luteum Nois. ex Steud.Nerium_item_0_12
  • Nerium madonii M.VincentNerium_item_0_13
  • Nerium mascatense A.DC.Nerium_item_0_14
  • Nerium odoratissimum Wender.Nerium_item_0_15
  • Nerium odoratum Lam.Nerium_item_0_16
  • Nerium odorum AitonNerium_item_0_17
  • Nerium splendens PaxtonNerium_item_0_18
  • Nerium thyrsiflorum PaxtonNerium_item_0_19
  • Nerium verecundum Salisb.Nerium_item_0_20
  • Oleander indica (Mill.) Medik.Nerium_item_0_21
  • Oleander vulgaris Medik.Nerium_item_0_22

Habitat and range Nerium_section_4

Nerium oleander is either native or naturalized to a broad area spanning from Northwest Africa and Iberian peninsula eastward through the Mediterranean region, to the Arabian peninsula, southern Asia, and as far east as Yunnan in southern parts of China. Nerium_sentence_38

It typically occurs around stream beds in river valleys, where it can alternatively tolerate long seasons of drought and inundation from winter rains. Nerium_sentence_39

Nerium oleander is planted in many subtropical and tropical areas of the world. Nerium_sentence_40

On the East Coast of the US, it grows as far north as Virginia Beach, Virginia, while in California and Texas miles of oleander shrubs are planted on median strips. Nerium_sentence_41

There are estimated to be 25 million oleanders planted along highways and roadsides throughout the State of California. Nerium_sentence_42

Because of its durability, oleander was planted prolifically on Galveston Island in Texas after the disastrous Hurricane of 1900. Nerium_sentence_43

They are so prolific that Galveston is known as the 'Oleander City'; an annual oleander festival is hosted every spring. Nerium_sentence_44

Moody Gardens in Galveston hosts the propagation program for the International Oleander Society, which promotes the cultivation of oleanders. Nerium_sentence_45

New varieties are hybridized and grown on the Moody Gardens grounds, encompassing every named variety. Nerium_sentence_46

Beyond the traditional Mediterranean and subtropical range of oleander, the plant can also be cultivated in mild oceanic climates with the appropriate precautions. Nerium_sentence_47

It is grown without protection in southern England and can reach great sizes in London and to a lesser extent in Paris due to the urban heat island effect. Nerium_sentence_48

This is also the case with North American cities in the Pacific Northwest like Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Nerium_sentence_49

Plants may suffer damage or die back in such marginal climates during severe winter cold but will rebound from the roots. Nerium_sentence_50

Ecology Nerium_section_5

Some invertebrates are known to be unaffected by oleander toxins, and feed on the plants. Nerium_sentence_51

Caterpillars of the polka-dot wasp moth (Syntomeida epilais) feed specifically on oleanders and survive by eating only the pulp surrounding the leaf-veins, avoiding the fibers. Nerium_sentence_52

Larvae of the common crow butterfly (Euploea core) and oleander hawk-moth (Daphnis nerii) also feed on oleanders, and they retain or modify toxins, making them unpalatable to potential predators such as birds, but not to other invertebrates such as spiders and wasps. Nerium_sentence_53

The flowers require insect visits to set seed, and seem to be pollinated through a deception mechanism. Nerium_sentence_54

The showy corolla acts as a potent advertisement to attract pollinators from a distance, but the flowers are nectarless and offer no reward to their visitors. Nerium_sentence_55

They therefore receive very few visits, as typical of many rewardless flower species. Nerium_sentence_56

Fears of honey contamination with toxic oleander nectar are therefore unsubstantiated. Nerium_sentence_57

Leaf scorch Nerium_section_6

A bacterial disease known as oleander leaf scorch has become an extremely serious threat to the shrub since it was first noticed in Palm Springs, California, in 1992. Nerium_sentence_58

The disease has since decimated hundreds of thousands of shrubs mainly in Southern California, but also on a smaller scale in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. Nerium_sentence_59

The culprit is a bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa, which is spread via insects (the glassy-winged sharpshooter primarily) which feed on the tissue of oleanders and spread the bacteria. Nerium_sentence_60

This inhibits the circulation of water in the tissue of the plant, causing individual branches to die until the entire plant is consumed. Nerium_sentence_61

Symptoms of leaf scorch infection may be slow to manifest themselves, but it becomes evident when parts of otherwise healthy oleanders begin to yellow and wither, as if scorched by heat or fire. Nerium_sentence_62

Die-back may cease during winter dormancy, but the disease flares up in summer heat while the shrub is actively growing, which allows the bacteria to spread through the xylem of the plant. Nerium_sentence_63

As such it can be difficult to identify at first because gardeners may mistake the symptoms for those of drought stress or nutrient deficiency. Nerium_sentence_64

Pruning out affected parts can slow the progression of the disease but not eliminate it. Nerium_sentence_65

This malaise can continue for several years until the plant completely dies—there is no known cure. Nerium_sentence_66

The best method for preventing further spread of the disease is to prune infected oleanders to the ground immediately after the infection is noticed. Nerium_sentence_67

Ornamental gardening Nerium_section_7

Oleander is a vigorous grower in warm subtropical regions, where it is extensively used as an ornamental plant in parks, along roadsides and in private gardens. Nerium_sentence_68

It is most commonly grown in its natural shrub form, but can be trained into a small tree with a single trunk. Nerium_sentence_69

Hardy versions like white, red and pink oleander will tolerate occasional light frost down to −10 °C (14 °F), though the leaves may be damaged. Nerium_sentence_70

The toxicity of oleander renders it deer-resistant and its large size makes for a good windbreak – as such it is frequently planted as a hedge along property lines and in agricultural settings. Nerium_sentence_71

The plant is tolerant of poor soils, intense heat, salt spray, and sustained drought – although it will flower and grow more vigorously with regular water. Nerium_sentence_72

Although it does not require pruning to thrive and bloom, oleander can become unruly with age and older branches tend to become gangly, with new growth emerging from the base. Nerium_sentence_73

For this reason gardeners are advised to prune mature shrubs in the autumn to shape and induce lush new growth and flowering for the following spring. Nerium_sentence_74

Unless they wish to harvest the seeds, many gardeners choose to prune away the seedpods that form on spent flower clusters, which are a drain on energy. Nerium_sentence_75

Propagation can be made from cuttings, where they can readily root after being placed in water or in rich organic potting material, like compost. Nerium_sentence_76

In Mediterranean climates oleanders can be expected to bloom from April through October, with the heaviest bloom usually occurring between May and June. Nerium_sentence_77

Free-flowering varieties like 'Petite Salmon' or 'Mont Blanc' require no period of rest and can flower continuously throughout the year if the weather remains warm. Nerium_sentence_78

In cold winter climates, oleander is a popular summer potted plant readily available at most nurseries. Nerium_sentence_79

They require frequent heavy watering and fertilizing as compared to being planted in the ground, but oleander is nonetheless an ideal flowering shrub for patios and other spaces with hot sunshine. Nerium_sentence_80

During the winter they should be moved indoors, ideally into an unheated greenhouse or basement where they can be allowed to go dormant. Nerium_sentence_81

Once they are dormant they require little light and only occasional watering. Nerium_sentence_82

Placing them in a space with central heating and poor air flow can make them susceptible to a variety of pests – aphids, mealybugs, oleander scale, whitefly and spider mites. Nerium_sentence_83

Colors and varieties Nerium_section_8

Oleander flowers are showy, profuse, and often fragrant, which makes them very attractive in many contexts. Nerium_sentence_84

Over 400 cultivars have been named, with several additional flower colors not found in wild plants having been selected, including yellow, peach and salmon. Nerium_sentence_85

Many cultivars, like 'Hawaii' or 'Turner's Carnival', are multi-colored, with brilliant striped corollas. Nerium_sentence_86

The solid whites, reds and a variety of pinks are the most common. Nerium_sentence_87

Double flowered cultivars like 'Mrs Isadore Dyer' (deep pink), 'Mathilde Ferrier' (yellow) or 'Mont Blanc' (white) are enjoyed for their large, rose-like blooms and strong fragrance. Nerium_sentence_88

There is also a variegated form, 'Variegata', featuring leaves striped in yellow and white. Nerium_sentence_89

Several dwarf cultivars have also been developed, offering a more compact form and size for small spaces. Nerium_sentence_90

These include 'Little Red', 'Petite White', 'Petite Pink' and 'Petite Salmon', which grow to about 8 feet (2.4 m) at maturity. Nerium_sentence_91

Toxicity Nerium_section_9

Oleander has historically been considered a poisonous plant because some of its compounds may exhibit toxicity, especially to animals, when consumed in large amounts. Nerium_sentence_92

Among these compounds are oleandrin and oleandrigenin, known as cardiac glycosides, which are known to have a narrow therapeutic index and can be toxic when ingested. Nerium_sentence_93

Toxicity studies of animals administered oleander extract concluded that birds and rodents were observed to be relatively insensitive to oleander cardiac glycosides. Nerium_sentence_94

Other mammals, however, such as dogs and humans, are relatively sensitive to the effects of cardiac glycosides and the clinical manifestations of "glycoside intoxication". Nerium_sentence_95

In reviewing oleander toxicity cases seen in-hospital, Lanford and Boor concluded that, except for children who might be at greater risk, "the human mortality associated with oleander ingestion is generally very low, even in cases of moderate intentional consumption (suicide attempts)." Nerium_sentence_96

In 2000, a rare instance of death from oleander poisoning occurred when two toddlers adopted from a Siberian orphanage ate the leaves from a neighbor's shrub in El Segundo, California. Nerium_sentence_97

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner's office stated that it was the first instance of death connected to oleander in the county, and a toxicologist from the California Poison Control Center said it was the first instance of death he had seen recorded. Nerium_sentence_98

Because oleander is extremely bitter, officials speculated that the toddlers had developed a condition caused by malnutrition, pica, which causes people to eat otherwise inedible material. Nerium_sentence_99

Effects of poisoning Nerium_section_10

Ingestion of this plant can affect the gastrointestinal system, the heart, and the central nervous system. Nerium_sentence_100

The gastrointestinal effects can consist of nausea and vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may contain blood, and especially in horses, colic. Nerium_sentence_101

Cardiac reactions consist of irregular heart rate, sometimes characterized by a racing heart at first that then slows to below normal further along in the reaction. Nerium_sentence_102

Extremities may become pale and cold due to poor or irregular circulation. Nerium_sentence_103

The effect on the central nervous system may show itself in symptoms such as drowsiness, tremors or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse, and even coma that can lead to death. Nerium_sentence_104

Oleander sap can cause skin irritations, severe eye inflammation and irritation, and allergic reactions characterized by dermatitis. Nerium_sentence_105

Treatment Nerium_section_11

Poisoning and reactions to oleander plants are evident quickly, requiring immediate medical care in suspected or known poisonings of both humans and animals. Nerium_sentence_106

Induced vomiting and gastric lavage are protective measures to reduce absorption of the toxic compounds. Nerium_sentence_107

Activated charcoal may also be administered to help absorb any remaining toxins. Nerium_sentence_108

Further medical attention may be required depending on the severity of the poisoning and symptoms. Nerium_sentence_109

Temporary cardiac pacing will be required in many cases (usually for a few days) until the toxin is excreted. Nerium_sentence_110

Digoxin immune fab is the best way to cure an oleander poisoning if inducing vomiting has no or minimal success, although it is usually used only for life-threatening conditions due to side effects. Nerium_sentence_111

Drying of plant materials does not eliminate the toxins. Nerium_sentence_112

It is also hazardous for animals such as sheep, horses, cattle, and other grazing animals, with as little as 100 g being enough to kill an adult horse. Nerium_sentence_113

Plant clippings are especially dangerous to horses, as they are sweet. Nerium_sentence_114

In July 2009, several horses were poisoned in this manner from the leaves of the plant. Nerium_sentence_115

Symptoms of a poisoned horse include severe diarrhea and abnormal heartbeat. Nerium_sentence_116

There is a wide range of toxins and secondary compounds within oleander, and care should be taken around this plant due to its toxic nature. Nerium_sentence_117

Different names for oleander are used around the world in different locations, so, when encountering a plant with this appearance, regardless of the name used for it, one should exercise great care and caution to avoid ingestion of any part of the plant, including its sap and dried leaves or twigs. Nerium_sentence_118

The dried or fresh branches should not be used for spearing food, for preparing a cooking fire, or as a food skewer. Nerium_sentence_119

Many of the oleander relatives, such as the desert rose (Adenium obesum) found in East Africa, have similar leaves and flowers and are equally toxic. Nerium_sentence_120

Therapeutic efficacy Nerium_section_12

Drugs derived from N. oleander have been investigated as a treatment for cancer, but have failed to demonstrate clinical utility. Nerium_sentence_121

According to the American Cancer Society, the trials conducted so far have produced no evidence of benefit, while they did cause adverse side effects. Nerium_sentence_122

Cultivation history Nerium_section_13

Nerium oleander has a history of cultivation going back millennia, especially amongst the great ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean Basin. Nerium_sentence_123

Some scholars believe it to be the rhodon (rose), also called the 'Rose of Jericho', mentioned in apocryphal writings (Ecclesiasticus XXIV, 13) dating back to between 450 and 180 BC. Nerium_sentence_124

The ancient Greeks had several names for the plant, including rhododaphne, nerion, rhododendron and rhodon. Nerium_sentence_125

Pliny confirmed that the Romans had no Latin word for the plant, but used the Greek terms instead. Nerium_sentence_126

Pedanius Dioscorides states in his 1st century AD pharmacopeia De Materia Medica that the Romans used the Greek rhododendron but also the Latin Oleander and Laurorosa. Nerium_sentence_127

The Egyptians apparently called it scinphe, the North Africans rhodedaphane, and the Lucanians (a southern Italic people) icmane. Nerium_sentence_128

Both Pliny and Dioscorides stated that oleander was an effective antidote to venomous snake bites if mixed with rue and drunk. Nerium_sentence_129

A 2014 article in the medical journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine posited that oleander was the substance used to induce hallucinations in the Pythia, the female priestess of Apollo, also known as the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece. Nerium_sentence_130

According to this theory, the symptoms of the Pythia's trances (enthusiasmos) correspond to either inhaling the smoke of or chewing small amounts of oleander leaves, often called by the generic term laurel in Ancient Greece, which led to confusion with the bay laurel that ancient authors cite. Nerium_sentence_131

In his book Enquiries into Plants of circa 300 BC, Theophrastus described (among plants that affect the mind) a shrub he called onotheras, which modern editors render oleander; "the root of onotheras [oleander] administered in wine", he alleges, "makes the temper gentler and more cheerful". Nerium_sentence_132

In another mention, of "wild bay" (Daphne agria), Theophrastus appears to intend the same shrub. Nerium_sentence_133

Oleander was a very popular ornamental shrub in Roman peristyle gardens; it is one of the flora most frequently depicted on murals in Pompeii and elsewhere in Italy. Nerium_sentence_134

These murals include the famous garden scene from the House of Livia at Prima Porta outside Rome, and those from the House of the Wedding of Alexander and the Marine Venus in Pompeii. Nerium_sentence_135

Carbonized fragments of oleander wood have been identified at the Villa Poppaea in Oplontis, likewise buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Nerium_sentence_136

They were found to have been planted in a decorative arrangement with citron trees (Citrus medica) alongside the villa's swimming pool. Nerium_sentence_137

Herbaria of oleander varieties are compiled and held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. Nerium_sentence_138

Culture Nerium_section_14

Folklore Nerium_section_15

The toxicity of the plant makes it the center of an urban legend documented on several continents and over more than a century. Nerium_sentence_139

Often told as a true and local event, typically an entire family, or in other tellings a group of scouts, succumbs after consuming hot dogs or other food roasted over a campfire using oleander sticks. Nerium_sentence_140

Some variants tell of this happening to Napoleon's or Alexander the Great's soldiers. Nerium_sentence_141

There is an ancient account mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, who described a region in Pontus in Turkey where the honey was poisoned from bees having pollinated poisonous flowers, with the honey left as a poisonous trap for an invading army. Nerium_sentence_142

The flowers have sometimes been mis-translated as Oleander, but Oleander flowers are nectarless and therefore cannot transmit any toxins via nectar. Nerium_sentence_143

The actual flower referenced by Pliny was Azalea/Rhododendron, which is still used in Turkey to produce a hallucinogenic honey. Nerium_sentence_144

In painting Nerium_section_16

Oleander has formed the subject matter of paintings by famous artists including: Nerium_sentence_145


  • Gustav Klimt, who painted "Two Girls with an Oleander" between 1890-92.Nerium_item_1_23
  • Vincent van Gogh painted his famous "Oleanders" in Arles in 1888. Van Gogh found the flowers "joyous" and "life-affirming" because of their inexhaustible blooms and vigour.Nerium_item_1_24
  • Anglo-Dutch artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema incorporated Oleanders into his classically-inspired paintings, including "An Oleander" (1882), "Courtship", "Under the Roof of Blue Ionian Weather" and "A Roman Flower Market" (1868).Nerium_item_1_25
  • "The Terrace at Méric (Oleanders)", an 1867 Impressionist painting by Frédéric Bazille.Nerium_item_1_26
  • "The Rehearsal of the Flute Player and the Wife of Diomedes in the Atrium of Prince Napoleon's Pompeian House in Paris" (1861) by Gustave Boulanger features potted Oleanders in a Roman period scene.Nerium_item_1_27
  • "Fulvia with the Head of Cicero" by Pavel Svedomsky - a 19th-century scene from Roman history with a potted Oleander.Nerium_item_1_28

In literature, film and music Nerium_section_17


  • Janet Fitch's 1999 novel White Oleander is centered around a young Southern California girl's experiences growing up in foster care after her mother is imprisoned for poisoning an ex-boyfriend with the plant. The book was adapted into a 2002 film of the same name starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Alison Lohman.Nerium_item_2_29
  • The rock band Oleander took its name from the plant because it lines miles of highways in the band's native Sacramento.Nerium_item_2_30
  • Oleanders were famously referenced by the band Steely Dan in their song "My Old School".Nerium_item_2_31
  • Canadian band Mother Mother references the flower in their 2011 song "Oleander".Nerium_item_2_32
  • Mr. Briggs, a character in the movie Enchanted April, tells a family myth about his father sticking his walking staff into the soil to mark the spot where he wanted an Oleander to be planted, which then sprouted leaves and turned into a live oleander.Nerium_item_2_33
  • In the 1946 movie Dragonwyck, a character played by Vincent Price uses oleander to kill his wife.Nerium_item_2_34
  • Oleander was used as a poison to kill mice, on Gilligan's Island (season 2 episode 16, "Not Guilty").Nerium_item_2_35
  • In the late 6th century/early 7th century AD Farsi-language poem the Jahangirnameh, the Mughal emperor Jahangar passes a stream overgrowing with oleanders along its banks. He orders the nobles in his train to adorn their turbans with Oleander blossoms, creating a "field of flowers" on their heads.Nerium_item_2_36
  • Willa Cather, in her book The Song of the Lark, mentions oleander in this passage:Nerium_item_2_37


  • In Anya Seton's historical novel Dragonwyck, set amidst the Anti-Rent Wars in the Hudson Valley in 1845, the protagonist, Nicholas Van Ryn, murders his wife Johanna by grinding oleander leaves in a nutmeg mill, and then sprinkling the resulting powder on a cake that she eats as she recovers from a cold.Nerium_item_3_38
  • Oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima, having been the first to bloom following the atomic bombing of the city in 1945.Nerium_item_3_39

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: