Vern.: Ganira, Kunair.
S. NAZIMUDDIN AND M. QAISER
Nerium odorum Soland.
An erect evergreen shrub, branches glabrous with milky juice, young branches green. Leaves 10-15 x 1-2 cm, linear-lanceolate, tapering at both ends, acuminate, thick coriaceous, midrib prominent, nerves numerous, petiole 5-7.5 mm long. Flowers white, pink or dark red, single or double in cultivated, form, fragrant 3-4 cm across, peduncle and pedicel hairy, bracts small, 5-7.5 mm long. Calyx c. 6.25 mm long, divided into 5 linear, acute lobes, hairy with gland at the base inside. Corolla tube 1.8 cm long, hairy within, throat narrow, ending in five twisted petals, tips rounded, corona of 5 scales near the throat of the corolla, cleft into 4-7 linear segments. Stamen included, filament short, Anthers connivent and adherent to stigma, connectives hairy, produced upward into long thread-like hairy appendages. Ovary with two distinct carpels, style filiform, thickened upward; stigma two lobed. Fruit 12-20 cm x 7:5 mm long.
Fl. Per.: April-October.
Lectotype: A cultivated specimen grown in Holland (Hb. Cliff.) vide Stearn, l.c.
Distribution: From the Mediterranean to Persia, China and Japan, common in rocky stream beds, ascending to 5,000 ft., also commonly cultivated and naturalized throughout Pakistan.
All parts of the plant is highly poisonous. Leaves are used in cutaneous eruption, decoction of leaves is used to destroy maggots infesting wounds. The plant is also used as rat poison in southern Europe.
Nerium oleander L. and Nerium indicum Mill. are treated by various authors as separate species on the basis of leaf shape, length of protrusion of connectives and the number of teeth of corona appendages. However these characters have not been found to be useful in separating the two taxa.
We have therefore followed Grant, Fosberg & Smith (Smithsonia Contrib. Bot. 17.53.1974) in treating the two as conspecific.