Botanical name: Nerium oleander Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Nerium indicum, Nerium odorum
Beautiful blossoms, of fragrant pink flowers in bunches, at the tip of branchlets rendering an eye-catching sight that is 'Oleander'. A native of India and China, it is now widely grown in tropical and subtropical gardens, parks, avenues, and is popular for its hue and fragrance. It rises up to 3 meters erect with its short branches and dark dusty green leathery narrow leaves, which grow in whorls. They are narrow lancelike, 5-21 cm long and 1-3.5 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink or yellow, 2.5-5 cm diameter, with 5 petals fringed at the base. They are often, but not always, sweetly scented. The fruit is a long narrow capsule 5-23 cm long, which splits open at maturity to release numerous downy seeds. The plants are almost free from pests and diseases and untouched by cattle and goats, due to their toxicity. In India they are thus the most favoured plants for the road dividers, where a plant has to withstand heat and dust, and little water. There are single and double forms in white, pink and red. Several other cultivars have been developed - once example is a popular variety called 'Petit Salmon' which is a dwarf that grows to only 4 ft (1.2 m).
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