Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Cascabela thevetia
(yellow oleander)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 July 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Cascabela thevetia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • yellow oleander
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Cascabela thevetia is a fast-growing woody species native to tropical North and South America that has been extensively introduced as an ornamental. It behaves as an aggressive weed that grows to form large and...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Yellow flowers. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.
TitleYellow flowers
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Yellow flowers. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Yellow flowers. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.
Yellow flowersCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Yellow flowers. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Orange flowers. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii. November 2006.
TitleOrange Flowers
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Orange flowers. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii. November 2006.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Orange flowers. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii. November 2006.
Orange FlowersCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Orange flowers. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii. November 2006.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.
TitleFruit
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.
FruitCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.
TitleFruit
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.
FruitCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Fruit. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. January 2007.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); habit. Delhi, India. August 2018.
TitleHabit
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); habit. Delhi, India. August 2018.
CopyrightDeepanshu Madaan/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); habit. Delhi, India. August 2018.
HabitCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); habit. Delhi, India. August 2018.Deepanshu Madaan/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Invasive habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii. September 2006.
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Invasive habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii. September 2006.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Invasive habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii. September 2006.
Invasive habitCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Invasive habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii. September 2006.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.
TitleLeaves
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.
LeavesCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. August 2015.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves with Laysan albatross. Enlisted Woods Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. June 2008.
TitleLeaves with Laysan albatross
CaptionCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves with Laysan albatross. Enlisted Woods Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. June 2008.
Copyright©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0
Cascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves with Laysan albatross. Enlisted Woods Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. June 2008.
Leaves with Laysan albatrossCascabela thevetia (yellow oleander); Leaves with Laysan albatross. Enlisted Woods Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. June 2008.©Forest and Kim Starr/via Starr Environmental - CC BY 2.0

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Cascabela thevetia (L.) H. Lippold

Preferred Common Name

  • yellow oleander

Other Scientific Names

  • Cascabela peruviana (Pers.) Raf.
  • Cerbera linearifolia Stokes
  • Cerbera peruviana Pers.
  • Cerbera thevetia L.
  • Thevetia linearis Raf.
  • Thevetia neriifolia Juss. ex A.DC.
  • Thevetia neriifolia Juss. ex Steud.
  • Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K.Schum.

International Common Names

  • English: be still tree; Captain Cook tree; Cook tree; dicky plant; lucky nut; Mexican oleander; still tree
  • Spanish: adelfa amarilla; cabalonga; campanero; cascabel; chilca; chilidrón; chilindron; chirca
  • French: arbre à lait; laurier jaune; noyer de serpent
  • Chinese: huang hua jia zhu tao
  • Portuguese: loandro-amarelo

Local Common Names

  • Bahamas: cathartic-bark; French trumpet-flower; luck-see
  • Brazil: cerbera; chapeu-de-Napoleao; jorro-jorro; noz-de-cobra
  • Cuba: cabalonga; cobalonga; codo de fraile; mata perro
  • Dominican Republic: ahouai des Antilles; flor del Perú; retama
  • Germany: gelber Baum-Oleander; gelber Schellenbaum
  • Haiti: bois saisisement; feuilles saisier; feuilles saisies; feuilles saisissement; solives
  • Jamaica: milk bush; whorl bush
  • Netherlands: gele oleander
  • Puerto Rico: caballón; cabalonga

EPPO code

  • THVPE (Thevetia peruviana)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

Cascabela thevetia is a fast-growing woody species native to tropical North and South America that has been extensively introduced as an ornamental. It behaves as an aggressive weed that grows to form large and dense thickets, especially in low-lying areas and along watercourses, that displace native vegetation and alter successional processes. In addition, all parts of the plant are extremely toxic and can be fatal to humans and other animals if consumed. Currently, it is included in the Global Invasive Species Database and has been listed as invasive and as a noxious weed in East Timor, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Australia, Anguilla, Cuba, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Fiji and other islands in the Pacific region.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Gentianales
  •                         Family: Apocynaceae
  •                             Genus: Cascabela
  •                                 Species: Cascabela thevetia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

The family Apocynaceae comprises about 400 genera and more than 4,500 species of trees, shrubs, and vines. The genus Cascabela belongs to the subfamily Rauvolfioideae and comprises 6 species ranging from Mexico to South America. Cascabela thevetia is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions. There are several cultivars with yellow, orange (or peach) and white flowers (Alvarado-Cárdenas and Ochoterena, 2007; Morales, 2009; Alvarado-Cardenas and Soto-Núñez, 2014; Alvarado-Cárdenas et al., 2017; Stevens, 2020).

The genus Cascabela has had a convoluted taxonomic history with respect to its generic limits with Thevetia and Cerbera. While phylogenetic analyses, taxonomic treatments and databases consider both genera as distinct entities (Alvarado-Cárdenas and Ochoterena, 2007; Morales, 2009; Alvarado-Cárdenas et al., 2017), other systematic works still treat Cascabela as synonym of Thevetia (Simões et al., 2007; Zarucchi, 2009; Endress et al., 2014).

The most recent evaluation of the genus and its relatives suggested that Cascabela and Thevetia are sister taxa and should be treated as separate genera. The separation of the two genera is based on the contrasting flower and fruit structure and seed shape. Cascabela has flowers with yellow infundibuliform corollas, suprastaminal finger-like appendages, black drupes with stony endocarps and non-compressed, slightly winged seeds, whereas Thevetia has flowers with yellow to whitish hypocrateriform or infundibuliform corollas, suprastaminal deltoid-like appendages, red drupaceous fruits with four fibrous endocarps and compressed seeds without wings (Alvarado-Cárdenas and Ochoterena, 2007; Alvarado-Cardenas and Soto-Núñez, 2014; Alvarado-Cárdenas et al., 2017).

Description

Top of page

The following description is adapted from Alvarado-Cárdenas and Ochoterena (2007) and Flora of China Editorial Committee (2020):

Trees or shrubs 2 to 8 m tall. Leaves petiolate; laminae lanceolate to elliptical, 8-16 × 0.5-1.4 cm, membranaceous, glabrous, with inconspicuous secondary venation. Inflorescences with 6 to 8 flowers; peduncles 0.3-0.9 cm, glabrous; bracts ovate,1.8-4 ×1-2 mm, deciduous, glabrous. Flowers with pedicels 2.5-3.0 cm, glabrous; sepals ovate to lanceolate, 0.5-1.3 × 0.2-0.4 cm, glabrous; corolla yellow or orange, tube 1.2-1.7 cm, 3-5 mm diameter, internally pubescent, throat 0.8-1.4 cm, 1.2-1.4 cm diameter, lobes oblong, 2.5-3.5 ×1.7-2.5 cm; anthers 2-2.5 × 1.5 mm; ovary 4×3 mm, glabrous, style 1-1.2 cm, stigma 2-3 × 2.5-3 mm. Drupes 2.5-3.5 × 2.1-4.5 cm, sometimes lenticellate; seeds light gray, lenticular, approximately 1-2 × 1-3.5 cm.

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

Top of page

Cascabela thevetia is native to tropical America, from Mexico to Peru. It has been introduced and can be found naturalized in North America, the West Indies, Africa, Southern Asia, Australia and on many islands in the Pacific and Indian Ocean (Govaerts, 2020; POWO, 2020; USDA-ARS, 2020).

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 16 Jul 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
BotswanaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)Naturalized
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
BurundiPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)Naturalized
ChadPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)Naturalized
GambiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
GuineaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
KenyaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)
MalawiPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017)
RwandaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)Naturalized
SenegalPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
SeychellesPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)
South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasiveGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)
UgandaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); GRIIS (2020)
ZambiaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017)
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedNaturalizedWitt and Luke (2017)Naturalized

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
ChinaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2019)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2019)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2019)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2019)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2019)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
Hong KongPresentIntroducedWu (2002)
IndiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
-AssamPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal (2020)
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal (2020)
LaosPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
MaldivesPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
NepalPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al. (2009)
TaiwanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2019)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
YemenPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)

Europe

CyprusPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
SpainPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)Canary Islands only
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2020)

North America

AnguillaPresentIntroducedInvasiveConnor (2008)
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
ArubaPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
BarbadosPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
BelizePresentNativePOWO (2020)
BermudaPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
-BonairePresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Costa RicaPresentNativePOWO (2020)
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasiveOviedo Prieto and González-Oliva (2015)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
GrenadaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
GuatemalaPresentNativePOWO (2020)
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
HondurasPresentNativePOWO (2020)
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
MartiniquePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
MexicoPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Campeche, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Michoacán de Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, Yucatán
MontserratPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated in Saba and St Barthelemy
NicaraguaPresentNativePOWO (2020)
PanamaPresentNativePOWO (2020)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Cultivated
United StatesPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWeeds of Australia (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedInvasiveBebawi et al. (2014)
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedInvasiveWeeds of Australia (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedBebawi et al. (2014)
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
-ChuukPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
-KosraePresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
-PohnpeiPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
-YapPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
FijiPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInvasiveFlorence et al. (2013)
GuamPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
NauruPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
NiuePresentIntroducedInvasiveSpace et al. (2004)
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
PalauPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
Timor-LestePresentIntroducedInvasiveGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
BoliviaPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
BrazilPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
-AcrePresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-AmazonasPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-BahiaPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-GoiasPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-ParaPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-ParaibaPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-PernambucoPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-RondoniaPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-RoraimaPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Sao PauloPresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-SergipePresentNativeKoch et al. (2015)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
ChilePresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Easter Island only. Listed as Thevetia peruviana
-Easter IslandPresentIntroducedGRIIS (2020)Listed as Thevetia peruviana
ColombiaPresentNativePOWO (2020)
EcuadorPresentNativePOWO (2020)
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedCharles Darwin Foundation (2008)
French GuianaPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
GuyanaPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
ParaguayPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
PeruPresentNativePOWO (2020)
SurinamePresentNativeGovaerts (2020)
VenezuelaPresentNativeGovaerts (2020)

Habitat

Top of page

Cascabela thevetia can be found growing as a weed along waterways, roadsides, waste areas, disturbed sites, bushlands, old gardens, open woodlands, pastures and coastal areas. It is also grown as ornamental in gardens and parks (Lusweti et al., 2011; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2020; ISSG, 2020; Useful Tropical Plants, 2020; Weeds of Australia, 2020).

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

The chromosome number reported for C. thevetia is 2n = 20 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2020).

Physiology and Phenology

In China, this species produces flowers from May to December (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2020). In Australia, flowering occurs throughout the year, but mostly during summer and autumn (Weeds of Australia, 2020). Across Africa, it has been reported producing flowers and fruits throughout the year, with a peak in flowering during the rainy season (Schmelzer, 2006).

Longevity

Cascabela thevetia is a perennial species that may live up to 50 years (Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, 2020).

Activity Patterns

A study showed that seeds of C. thevetia might germinate across a wide range of temperatures ranging from 12°C to 47°C and seeds may remain viable up to 2 years. The ability of seed to remain viable at low temperatures increases the potential of this species to expand beyond its current distribution (Bebawi et al., 2017).

Environmental Requirements

Cascabela thevetia prefers to grow in warm areas at elevations ranging from 50m to 200m with temperatures between 17°C to 37°C, but it can tolerate 12°C to 47°C. It prefers fertile, well-drained soils, but it can grow on soils ranging from sandy loam to black clays. It is tolerant of drought and moderately tolerant of salt (Schmelzer, 2006; Bebawi et al., 2017; ISSG, 2020).

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
40 40

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 37

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page

Scale insects, mealy bug, red spider mite and aphids may be pests of C. thevetia when grown in cultivation (Schmelzer, 2006).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Natural Dispersal

Cascabela thevetia disperses by seeds. Seeds are spread into new areas by animals and water (Fallen, 1986; Ridley, 1930). Livestock have occasionally been observed grazing shoot tips and consuming fruit.

Accidental Introduction

Fruits are commonly spread in dumped garden waste.

Intentional Introduction

Cascabela thevetia has been widely introduced as an ornamental. In cultivation,it is propagated by cuttings, especially when it is used as a living fence (Lusweti et al., 2011; Weeds of Australia, 2020).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
DisturbanceOften naturalized in wastelands Yes Weeds of Australia, 2020
Escape from confinement or garden escapeCommonly spread in dumped garden waste Yes Weeds of Australia, 2020
Garden waste disposalCommonly spread in dumped garden waste Yes Weeds of Australia, 2020
Habitat restoration and improvementPlanted for soil conservation Yes Yes Useful Tropical Plants, 2020
Hedges and windbreaksUsed as a hedge plant Yes Yes Useful Tropical Plants, 2020
HorticultureWidely cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2020
Intentional releaseWidely cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2020
Internet salesSeeds sold online Yes Yes ,
Nursery tradeWidely cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2020
Ornamental purposesWidely cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2020

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesCommonly spread in dumped garden waste Yes Weeds of Australia, 2020
MailSeeds sale online Yes Yes
WaterFruits dispersed by water Yes Yes Fallen, 1986; Ridley, 1930
Host and vector organismsFruits dispersed by animals Yes Yes Fallen, 1986; Ridley, 1930

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Negative

Environmental Impact

Top of page

Cascabela thevetia is an invasive plant with the potential to displace native vegetation and alter successional processes. In Australia it been identified as one of the major weeds threatening rangeland biodiversity as it has invaded natural areas and formed dense thickets along creek lines and floodplains (Bebawi et al., 2014). It is also considered a serious weed displacing native species in East-Timor and South Africa (ISSG, 2020). It has been suggested that its litter has allelopathic effects on other plants (Schmelzer, 2006).

Social Impact

Top of page

All parts of this plant are poisonous. The sap and seeds can be deadly poisonous to domestic animals and humans. The sap may cause dermatitis in people (Lusweti et al., 2011; Useful Tropical Plants, 2020; Weeds of Australia, 2020).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

Top of page

Cascabela thevetia is a popular ornamental plant in gardens, parks and yards. It is also planted as a living fence and for shade or for soil conservation. All parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine. The oil extracted from the seeds is used externally to treat skin maladies and to make soap. The bark is a powerful antiperiodic and febrifuge. The bark and seeds are used to poison rats. Mashed seeds with a soap solution are used as an insecticide. In Africa, the wood is used to make tool handles and building poles and used for fuel. The seeds are called ‘lucky nuts’ or ‘luck seeds’ and are sometimes carried in the pocket to bring good luck (Schmelzer, 2006; Useful Tropical Plants, 2020).

Uses List

Top of page

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Soil conservation

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

General

  • Ritual uses

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant

Wood Products

Top of page

Roundwood

  • Building poles

Woodware

  • Tool handles

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

Cascabela and Thevetia species can be distinguished based on the contrasting flower and fruit structure and seed shape (Alvarado-Cárdenas and Ochoterena, 2007; Alvarado-Cardenas and Soto-Núñez, 2014; Alvarado-Cárdenas et al., 2017):

Cascabela has flowers with yellow infundibuliform corollas, suprastaminal finger-like appendages, black drupes with stony endocarps and non-compressed seeds with reduced wings.

Thevetia has flowers with yellow to whitish hypocrateriform or infundibuliform corollas, suprastaminal deltoid-like appendages, red drupaceous fruits with four fibrous endocarps and compressed seeds with or without wings.

In Mexico, C. thevetia may be confused with the endemic species C. thevetioides, but they can be distinguished by the following traits (Alvarado-Cárdenas and Ochoterena, 2007):

Secondary veins: inconspicuous in C. thevetia vs. exposed in C. thevetioides.

Leaf indumentum: glabrous in C. thevetia vs. tomentose in C. thevetioides.

Corolla tube size: 1.2–1.7 cm in C. thevetia vs. 2.0–3.0 cm in C. thevetioides.

References

Top of page

Alvarado-Cardenas LO, Soto-Núñez JC, 2014. A new species of Cascabela (Apocynaceae; Rauvolfioideae, Plumerieae) from Michoacán, Mexico. Phytotaxa, 177(3), 163-170.

Alvarado-Cárdenas, L. O., Ochoterena, H., 2007. A phylogenetic analysis of the Cascabela-Thevetia species complex (Plumerieae, Apocynaceae) based on morphology. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 94(2), 298-323. doi: 10.3417/0026-6493(2007)94[298:APAOTC]2.0.CO;2

Alvarado-Cárdenas, L. O., Villaseñor, J. L., López-Mata, L., Cadena, J., Ortiz, E., 2017. Systematics, distribution and conservation of Cascabela (Apocynaceae: Rauvolfioideae: Plumerieae) in Mexico. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 303(3), 337-369. doi: 10.1007/s00606-016-1375-6

Bebawi, F. F., Campbell, S. D., Mayer, R. J., 2014. Effects of light conditions and plant density on growth and reproductive biology of Cascabela thevetia (L.) Lippold. Rangeland Journal, 36(5), 459-467. doi: 10.1071/RJ14038

Bebawi, F. F., Campbell, S. D., Mayer, R. J., 2017. Seed ecology of Captain Cook tree [Cascabela thevetia (L.) Lippold] - germination and longevity. Rangeland Journal, 39(4), 307-316. doi: 10.1071/RJ17025

Connor, RA, 2008. Anguilla Invasive Species Strategy (draft). http://www.gov.ai/documents/Anguilla%20Invasive%20Species%20Strategy%202008%20(2).pdf

Endress ME, Liede-Schumann S, Meve U, 2014. An updated classification for Apocynaceae. Phytotaxa, 159(3), 175-194.

Fallen ME, 1986. Floral structure in the Apocynaceae: Morphological, functional and evolutionary aspects. Botanische Jahrbücher fur Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie, 106, 245-286.

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2019. Flora of China. In: Flora of China St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Govaerts, R, 2020. World Checklist of Apocynaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.http://wcsp.science.kew.org/

India Biodiversity Portal, 2020. Online Portal of India Biodiversity. In: Online Portal of India Biodiversity . http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

ISSG, 2020. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). In: Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) : Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/

Lusweti, A., Wabuyele, E., Ssegawa, P., Mauremootoo, J., 2011. External factsheets, Nairobi, Kenya: BioNET-EAFRINET.unpaginated. http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/eafrinet/weeds/key/weeds/Media/Html/Thevetia_peruviana_(Yellow_Oleander).htm

Morales JF, 2009. (Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XXXIX: revisión de las Apocynoideae y Rauvolfioideae de Honduras). Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, 66(2), 217-262.

Oviedo Prieto, R., González-Oliva, L., 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 9(Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii.http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

POWO, 2020. Plants of the World Online. In: Plants of the World Online London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org

Ridley, H. N., 1930. The Dispersal of Plants Throughout the World, Ashford, Kent, UK: L. Reeve & Company, Limited.xx + 744 pp. + xxii.

Schmelzer GH, 2006. Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K.Schum. In: PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale) [ed. by Schmelzer GH, Gurib-Fakim A]. Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA.https://www.prota4u.org/database/protav8.asp?fr=1&g=pe&p=Thevetia+peruviana+(Pers.)+K.Schum

Simões AO, Livshultz T, Conti E, Endress ME, 2007. Phylogeny and Systematics of the Rauvolfioideae (Apocynaceae) Based On Molecular and Morphological Evidence. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 94(2), 268-298.

Space, J. C., Waterhouse, B. M., Newfield, M., Bull, C., 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity. In: Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity.] . 76 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/reports/niue_report_2004.htm

Stevens, P. F., 2020. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14. In: Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14 . St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, 2020. SelecTree: A tree selection guide. San Luis Obispo, California, USA: CalPoly.https://selectree.calpoly.edu/

USDA-ARS, 2020. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2020. The PLANTS Database. In: The PLANTS Database Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team.https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Useful Tropical Plants, 2020. Useful tropical plants database. In: Useful tropical plants database : K Fern.http://tropical.theferns.info/

Weeds of Australia, 2020. Weeds of Australia. Biosecurity Queensland Edition. Queensland, Australia: Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/search.html

Witt, A., Luke, Q., 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa, [ed. by Witt, A., Luke, Q.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI.vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 doi:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Wu, T. L., 2002. Check List of Hong Kong Plants, (Edn 7) , China: Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany.384 pp. http://www.hkflora.com/v2/flora/plant_check_list.php

Zarucchi JL, 2009. Thevetia. In: Flora Mesoamericana Volume 4 Part 1. Cucurbitaceae a Polomoniaceae, [ed. by Davidse G, Sousa SM, Knapp S, Chiang F]. Mexico City, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Bebawi F F, Campbell S D, Mayer R J, 2014. Effects of light conditions and plant density on growth and reproductive biology of Cascabela thevetia (L.) Lippold. Rangeland Journal. 36 (5), 459-467. DOI:10.1071/RJ14038

Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. In: Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos, Galapagos, Ecuador: Charles Darwin Foundation. unpaginated.

Chong K Y, Tan H T W, Corlett R T, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp. https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/app/uploads/2017/04/flora_of_singapore_tc.pdf

Connor RA, 2008. Anguilla Invasive Species Strategy (draft)., http://www.gov.ai/documents/Anguilla%20Invasive%20Species%20Strategy%202008%20(2).pdf

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2019. Flora of China. In: Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Florence J, Chevillotte H, Ollier C, Meyer J-Y, 2013. Nadeaud botanical database of the Herbarium of French Polynesia. (Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP))., https://nadeaud.ilm.pf/

Govaerts R, 2020. World Checklist of Apocynaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://wcsp.science.kew.org/

GRIIS, 2020. Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species. http://www.griis.org/

India Biodiversity Portal, 2020. Online Portal of India Biodiversity. In: Online Portal of India Biodiversity, http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

Koch I, Rapini A, Simões AO, Kinoshita LS, Spina AP, Castello ACD, 2015. Thevetia peruviana. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB42088

Oviedo Prieto R, González-Oliva L, 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 9 (Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

POWO, 2020. Plants of the World Online. In: Plants of the World Online, London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org

Space J C, Waterhouse B M, Newfield M, Bull C, 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity. In: Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity.]. 76 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/reports/niue_report_2004.htm

USDA-NRCS, 2020. The PLANTS Database. In: The PLANTS Database, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team. https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Weeds of Australia, 2020. Weeds of Australia. Biosecurity Queensland Edition. Queensland, Australia: Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/search.html

Witt A, Luke Q, 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa. [ed. by Witt A, Luke Q]. Wallingford, UK: CABI. vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 DOI:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Wu T L, 2002. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. China: Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. 384 pp. http://www.hkflora.com/v2/flora/plant_check_list.php

Contributors

Top of page

11/02/20 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map