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Thevetia peruviana, yellow oleander

Thevetia peruviana, yellow oleander

Summary

Though known as the 'suicide tree', its 'success' rate, at under 10%, makes it an unreliable choice.

Blog Entries

Read more about Thevetia peruviana, yellow oleander in these blog entries;
Poisonous Plants 1-2-1 video on the two oleanders
Cattle in Bermuda die after eating oleander leaves

Family

Apocynaceae

Thevetia peruviana, yellow oleander

Meaning of the Name

Thevetia
Named after the French monk, André Thevet (1502-1592) who is credited with 'discovering' the plant during his travels in South America.

peruviana
From Peru 

Common Names and Synonyms

yellow oleander, lucky nut, suicide tree, be-still nuts

'Poisonous Plants 1-2-1' video

This short video summarising the story of the two oleanders is just one of a series.

How Poisonous, How Harmful?

Contains thevetin, a cardiac glycoside, said to have a digitalis type action on the heart.

Incidents

Thevetia peruviana, yellow oleander

In a paper on treatment of Thevetia peruviana poisoning, M. Eddleston et al describe 351 cases in Sri Lanka, in a three year period, but say that there are 'thousands' of cases each year, the majority being deliberate ingestion by young women. Of the cases described in the paper only two died suggesting Thevetia is not the perfect suicide weapon it is sometimes said to be.

In general, it is said that under 10% of cases of ingestion will prove fatal.

One fatal incident was reported from Cyprus where a tourist, visiting from south-east Asia, was seen to pick and eat parts of the plant in a park, apparently in order to commit suicide.

Folklore and Facts

Thevetia is said to originate in south America and be an introduced plant in Asia where it now appears to do most harm.

Like many poison plants, its extremely bitter taste is a disincentive to accidental ingestion and it has a strongly emetic effect which further limits the harm it does.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.

 

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Introduction to the A to Z section
Abrus precatorius, rosary pea
Aconitum lycoctonum, wolfsbane
Aconitum napellus, monkshood
Actaea racemosa, black cohosh
Actaea spicata, baneberry
Aesculus hippocastanum, horse chestnut
Amanita muscaria, fly agaric
Aquilegia atrata, columbine
Aristolochia clematitis, birthwort
Artemisia absinthium, wormwood
Arum italicum, Italian cuckoopint
Arum maculatum, cuckoopint
Aspergillus fumigatus
Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade
Brugmansia suaveolens, angel's trumpet
Bryonia dioica, bryony
Buxus sempervirens, common box
Camellia sinensis, tea
Cannabis sativa, marijuana
Catha edulis, khat
Chelidonium majus, greater celandine
Cimicifuga racemosa, black cohosh
Claviceps purpurea, ergot
Clematis vitalba, old man's beard
Colchicum autumnale, naked ladies
Conium maculatum, poison hemlock
Convallaria majalis, lily of the valley
Cynoglossum officinale, hound’s tongue
Daphne mezereon, spurge olive
Datura stramonium, thorn apple, jimsonweed
Datura suaveolens, angel's trumpet
Delphinium, larkspur
Digitalis spp., foxglove
Dracunculus vulgaris, dragon arum
Echium vulgare, viper’s bugloss
Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconite
Erythroxylum coca, cocaine
Euonymus europaeus, spindle tree
Euphorbia x martinii, red spurge
Euphorbia pulcherrima, poinsettia
Fritillaria spp., fritillary
Galanthus nivalis, snowdrop
Hedera helix, common ivy
Helleborus spp., hellebore
Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed
Hyacinthoides non-scripta, bluebell
Hyoscyamus niger, black henbane
Ilex aquifolium, holly
Jacobaea vulgaris, ragwort
Juniperus communis, common juniper
Laburnum anagyroides, laburnum
Lactuca serriola, prickly lettuce
Leucojum aestivum, snowflake
Lithospermum officinale, gromwell
Lolium temulentum, darnel
Malus 'John Downie', crab apple
Mandragora officinarum, mandrake
Mercurialis perennis, dog’s mercury
Narcissus, daffodil
Nepeta faassenii, catmint
Nerium oleander, oleander
Nicotiana sylvestris, tobacco
Oenanthe crocata, hemlock water dropwort
Papaver somniferum, opium poppy
Pastinaca sativa, parsnip
Polygonatum odoratum, angular Solomon's seal
Prunus laurocerasus, cherry laurel
Pulsatilla vulgaris, pasque flower
Ranunculus acris, meadow buttercup
Rheum x hybridum, rhubarb
Rhododendron spp.
Rhus radicans, poison ivy
Ricinus communis, castor oil plant
Rosmarinus officinalis, rosemary
Rumex obtusifolius, broad-leaved dock
Ruta graveolens, rue
Salix alba, white willow
Salvia divinorum, sage
Scutellaria laterifolia, Virginian skullcap
Senecio jacobaea, ragwort
Solanum dulcamara, woody nightshade
Solanum melongena, aubergine
Strychnos nux-vomica, poison nut
Symphoricarpos albus, snowberry
Symphytum spp., comfrey
Taxus baccata, yew
Toxicodendron radicans, poison ivy
Thevetia peruviana, yellow oleander
Urtica dioica, stinging nettle
Veratrum album, white hellebore
Verbascum olympicum, Greek mullein
Vinca major, greater periwinkle
Viscum album, mistletoe
Vitex agnus-castus, chaste tree