(Last Updated on : 02/07/2013)
The large and attractive shrub that is known as 'Thevetia Peruviana' in science is generally called as the 'Yellow Oleander'. The name 'Thevetia' was given in honour of a French monk of the 16th Century, M. Andre Thevet. The shrub belongs to the family of 'Apocynaceae'. It is called as 'Zard Kunel' or 'Pita Kaner' in Hindi
. The Bengali people named it as 'Kolkaphul'.This nice shrub can be very easily recognised as it has some slender and pointed leaves and scattered yellow coloured flowers.
The shrub is very common at present in all over India and also in all the tropical countries. It can thrive very well particularly in the drier regions. Every part of the bush of this shrub is extremely poisonous. Amongst the parts, the milky sap that exudes from stems and shoots is the most poisonous. In spite of being such a poisonous shrub, the 'Yellow Oleander' is quite popular. The reason may be that, the goats and cattle do not graze from it and it can grow in a balanced formation and it bears leaves almost to the ground. The flowers of the shrub are bendable and yellow in colour. They grow up to 5 cm across. They have slight fragrance, but they live a very short life.
However, the shrub continues its blooming throughout the year. Although it never flowers in a large amount, you will rarely come across a bush that does not have a single flower. The flowers are like bells in shape and also contain five overlapping petals. They spring from the ends of the branchlets and also from small side shoots. You can also see the pale off-white and cream-coloured flowers sometimes. The fruit of the 'Yellow Oleander' is a berry that shaped oddly. It changes its colour from green to brownish when it achieves maturity. There is a woody stone inside the fruit and this stone contains two to four seeds. People call these seeds as 'Lucky Seeds' or 'Lucky Beans' and they make pendants or charms with them. They also keep them in the pocket "for luck". The leaves of the shrub are shining, green coloured lances that point in every direction. They always make their presence in a great number. They are pale and dull underneath the shrub.
The bark of the shrub is also shining and it is slim. It is grayish brown in colour and the branches are slender and spreading. You should cut down the shrub lightly from time to time. People can obtain bright yellow coloured oil from the seeds of the 'Yellow Oleander' and as this oil bums well, they also use this in medicine. A strong poison named as 'Thevetin' can be obtained from the bark of the shrub and can make a very powerful medicine that lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever. However, you should employ this with great caution. The seeds are sometimes used to poison wild animals as well. The shrub has the ability to propagate easily by cuttings or seeds. It has some sort of religious value also. The Hindus admire it and like to plant it beside their temples and they also offer the flowers to their God Shiva