Oleander (Nerium oleander)


 Did You Know?

Public DomainOleander has many nicknames ranging from all different languages.  In Africa they may call it Selonsroos or in Arabic they might call it Haban.  In English speaking countries it is often referred to as Oleander or Rose Bay.  Why may all of these different languages have different names for this organism?  It is because it grows all around the world.  The name Nerium oleander most likely stems from the greek word Neros meaning grows in a wet habitat and olea meaning olive.  It was thought to be an olive bush because of the similar leaves to an olive tree.  This of course is one version but their are many other thoughts as to how Nerium oleander got its name. This name was given to this organism officially by the father of the Binomial Nomenclature system of naming, Carlolus Linnaeus, in 1737! 

Oleander is actually an invasive species to North America as it originated in the Mediterranean area.  This is because so many people love to grow it in their yards or houses and this is why it grows all over the world.
Oleander growing next to a brick wall thanks to Dalgial
There have been many stories as to how Oleander got its origin.  One of these goes back to Ancient Greece, where it was believed that a man named Leander was romancing a Greek maiden.   He drowned in a large storm at sea and his body was washed up on shore.  She ran down to the beach and cried “Oh Leander, Oh Leander” and she found the flower in his hand.  She then planted it and it grew as a symbol of their love.  For more stories on how Oleander originated click here.
Pink Oleander flower thanks to Aruna

There is actually an International Oleander Society and every year they have an Oleander festival dedicated specifically to this organism.  For a link for this years festival click here.

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