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Health Services > Queensland Poisons Information Centre

Plants and mushrooms

Yellow oleander

Yellow oleander shrub close up of fruit of Yellow oleander close up of leaves and flowers of Yellow oleander close up of flower of Yellow oleander
Category 1 toxicity iconCategory 3 toxicity icon

 Common name   Yellow oleander
 Botanical name   Cascabela thevetia (also known as Thevetia peruviana or Thevetia neriifolia)
 Other common names   Cook tree, Be-still tree, Lucky nut, Dicky plant
Family   Apocynaceae
 General description   A large spreading shrub usually 2.5–3.5m tall.
Flowers   The sweetly perfumed flowers are funnel-shaped, bright yellow or peach coloured, 5.5–7cm long and 2.5–4cm wide, grouped in clusters at the end of the branches.
Leaves   The leaves are glossy green, strap-like, alternating on the stem, 5.5–15cm long and 0.5–1.5cm wide.
 Fruit/Berries   The fruit are angular, green when immature, ripening black, broader than long and somewhat triangular in outline, with a raised ridge around the middle, about 3–4.5cm in diameter. The fruit is fleshy and soft like a plum and encloses a “stone” comprising two starchy kernels.
Other   The sap is milky.
Symptoms   All parts of the plant are toxic if eaten, particularly the fruit and seeds. This species has been responsible for the deaths of several children. Symptoms may include a burning sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness and a slow or irregular heartbeat. The sap may be an irritant and cause dermatitis or blistering.
Toxicity category   1, 3
Warning   Seek urgent medical assistance for all ingestions.


Last Updated: 24 August 2010
Last Reviewed: 31 October 2008