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Nerium oleander L.

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Common Name: Oleander, Rose Bay, Rose Laurel, Dog Bane, Scented Oleander, South Sea Rose, Sweet Oleander, Bunga Anis, Bunga Jepun, 欧洲夹竹桃
Full Sun Moderate Water Butterfly Host Plant Fragrant Plant Ornamental Flowers Drought Tolerant Shrub


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Cultivated in the Mediterranean
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large woody shrub, up to 6 m tall but usually about 1.5 - 3 m, can be pruned into small tree. 
Foliage Leaves glossy and thick, with prominent mid-rib. Leaves lanceolate, arranged in pairs or whorls of 3 along woody stem.
Flowers Flowers fragrant, bright red and showy, 5 petals, in terminal clusters.
Fruits Fruits are small narrow capsules, drooping and pod-like, split when dry to release fluffy seeds. Seeds dispersed by wind.
Cultivation Cultivated along roadsides and in parks in Singapore. Able to grow in both dry and wet conditions. 
Etymology Genus name derived from Greek 'nerion' meaning moist, as plant likes moist soils. Species epithet 'oleander' refers to leaves which resemble olive leaves.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( One of the glycosides, oleanderin, used to treat patients with heart problems. Decoction of bark and leaves grounded in oil used to treat skin diseases. Leaves boiled in water and drank to cure malaria, induce abortions and reduce swellings. Flowers used to relieve headaches.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Flowers), Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Poor Infertile Soils, Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion, Weak Branches
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Cut surfaces secrete cream-coloured latex containing toxins called glycosides. All parts are poisonous, even when dried. Ingestion can cause adverse gastrointestinal and cardiac effects. Avoid planting at areas within reach of children.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Red

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 970
Species ID 2264
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 15 February 2022.