Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Survival Where No One Thought Possible!

Nerium oleander is a unique plant.  It is considered drought resistant, however it prefers to live along river banks in moist soil.  It also needs lots of sunlight and does not like to live in areas that have temperatures below freezing.  It can live in many different kinds of habitats that other plants could never survive in.  Some of these places include highly metal concentrated environments and acidic environments.  Nerium oleander has been found growing in the Río Tinto in Spain.  This area is known for having a low ph level around 2.2 and for having high metal concentrations in its soil. 
Oleander with roots thanks to CayambeOleander growing on rocks thanks to Tagzen
Even though most plants could never live there, Nerium oleander has a mechanism that blocks these metals from reaching to its outer parts.  How this mechanism works is still woefully understudied however it was found by some scientists in Spain that the concentration of metals in the roots of this plant was far less then the concentration of the metals in the soil around the roots.  This most likely indicates that something in the roots is blocking the intake of these metals.  This has made scientists very excited in that it is very possible that Nerium oleander could be used in the phytoremediation of mining areas.  
The Rio Tinto thanks to NASAOleander growing on rocks thanks to Luispihormiguero


Nerium oleander is found most commonly in the Mediterranean area where it originated however it can be found all over the world.  It is resistant to both drought and pollution.  It also has ornamental flowers, which makes it a very desirable plant to have in a garden or planted in medians of roads. See interactions
Oleander growing on side of road thanks to PatriciaRDistribution of Oleander in Canada and the United States thanks to the USDA


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