|Yellow Oleander flowers and leaves|
Cascabela thevetia (syn: Thevetia peruviana) is a poisonous plant of central and southern Mexico and Central America. It is a relative of Nerium oleander, giving it a common name Yellow Oleander, and is also called lucky nut in the West Indies.
C. thevetia is an evergreen tropical shrub or small tree. Its leaves are willow-like, linear-lanceolate, and glossy green in color. They are covered in waxy coating to reduce water loss (typical of oleanders). Its stem is green turning silver/gray as it ages.
Flowers bloom from summer to fall. The long funnel-shaped sometimes-fragrant yellow (less commonly apricot, sometimes white) flowers are in few-flowered terminal clusters. Its fruit is deep red-black in color encasing a large seed that bears some resemblance to a 'Chinese lucky nut.'[clarification needed]
The main toxins are the cardenolides called thevetin A and thevetin B; others include peruvoside, neriifolin, thevetoxin and ruvoside. These cardenolides are not destroyed by drying or heating and they are very similar to digoxin from Digitalis purpurea. They produce gastric and cardiotoxic effects. Antidotes for treatment include atropine and digoxin antibodies and treatment may include oral administration of activated charcoal. Ovine polyclonal anti-digitoxin Fab fragment antibody (DigiTAb; Therapeutic Antibodies Inc.) can be used to treat T. peruviana poisoning, but for many countries the cost is prohibitive.
A few bird species are however known to feed on them without any ill effects. These include the Asian Koel, Red-whiskered Bulbul, White-browed Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Brahminy Myna, Common Myna and Common Grey Hornbill.
Extracts from C. thevetia are reported to possess antispermatogenic activity in rats.
C. thevetia is cultivated as an ornamental plant, and planted as large flowering shrub or small ornamental tree standards in gardens and parks in temperate climates. In frost prone areas it is container plant, in the winter season brought inside a greenhouse or as a house plant. It tolerates most soils and is drought tolerant.
- Biological pest control
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