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6. YELLOW OLEANDER Thevetia neriifolia Juss. (Order: Apocynaceae).

Thevetia in honour of a monk of the fourteenth century, Andre Thevet; neriifolia derived from Nerium the generic name of the oleander and folia, leaves, in illusion to the close resemblance of the leaves to those of the oleander. Description: A large evergreen shrub or small tree, 15 to 20 ft. high. Leaves crowded along the branches, linear, 5 to 6 in, long by 3/8 to 1/4 in. wide, tip acute, base narrow. Flowers showy,, trumpet-shaped, fragrant, 2.5 to 2.75 in. long, The anthers and stigma are at the bottom of the funnel protected by tufts of hairs against unbidden guests. The stigma is somewhat crownshaped with a shallow cleft at the top. The fruit is about the size of a golf ball, somewhere obtusely angular. Seed somewhat triangular in outline hard. Distribution: A native of the West Indies and Mexico. Gardening: Propagated by seed. Uses: The plant yields a poisonous, bitter and cathartic juice. The bark is used as a febrifuge and is said to have antiperiodic properties. Large dose acts as an acrid purgative and emetic, but taken in too great doses it is poisonous. Great caution is required in trying out these remedies. A bright yellow oil is obtained from the seeds, it burns well, and is also used in medicine. The kernels are bitter and if chewed produce numbness and heat to the tongue. Note: The tree flowers almost throughout the year, but the principal period appears to be just after the monsoon. They open, in the morning, and are visited by insects, humble bees (Xylecopa) and fall by the evening or next morning.