Rosebay, Nerium oleander

shrub of the family Apocynaceae (Frangipani, Rosebay, Thevetia peruviana)

Origin: Mediterranean Basin, Middle east, India and Japan.
Height: 2-5 m tall.
Habitat: sunny. it supports drought.
Hardiness: the Rosebay fears deep frost (-6°C or 21°F). A red variety ' Little red ' supports-12°C (zone 8).
Persistent foliage. Simple leaves, opposite, often grouped in whorls, of dark green colour, from 15 to 20 cm long (bigger than those of the bay tree), lanceolate and sharp tip, tough and entire, beardless margins. They contain a toxic glucoside (cyanhydric acid, as the bitter almond).
More or less pale, sometimes white pink flowers, slightly fragrant, blooming in summer and till the beginning of the autumn. They are grouped in terminal cymes. Their corolla includes welded petals, 5 broad lobes adorned with 5 tongues. 5 stamens have anthers characterised by 2 small tails at the base and an appendice feathery and twisted in end.
The fruit is formed of 2 follicles brought closer, from 10 to 15 cm long, containing several seeds equipped with brownish hairs for dissemination by wind.

Use : due to its persistent foliage and because it supports pruning, it is used in insulated decorative shrub.

Diseases: a bacterial scabies causes blackish bumps on leaves, also on stems, which burst. It is too much late to apply some copper sulphate. To prevent spread, cut and burn the diseased parts (think disinfect your pruning shears) and avoid wetting the foliage when watering sick because the water partition scabies (water only the soil). Preventively, the following yearit is advisable to spray copper sulphate.
Leaves, sap and bark contain a poisonous active principle based on particularly active glucoside. The best known is the oleandrine, but there are more than 10 other glucosides: þ 5-cardenolides, a 5-cardenolides as uzangenine, oleandrigenine (16-Acetylgitoxigenine) (ol), glucosyloleandrine, gentiobiosyl oleandrine, nerigoside, digitalose / diginose , diginose, gentiobiose-diginose.


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