Luckynut, or yellow oleander, is probably native to Mexico; its precise origin is unknown because it has been cultivated throughout Latin America for centuries. It reaches a height of 25 feet, with a trunk 5 or more inches in diameter. The leaves are lustrous and measure up to 6.5 inches long by scarcely half an inch wide. Flowers are up to 2.5 inches long, the petals may be white, yellow, or orange-yellow. Fruits are roughly triangular and up to 1.5 inches wide, they contain a hard stone resembling a Chinese fortune cookie, within which there are two seeds. The tree flowers during spring and fruits mature in fall and winter. The seeds and the white latex produced by cut leaves and branches are very poisonous. It flowers and produces fruits throughout the year. The generic name honors the French explorer André Thévet (1502-1590). The species name derives erroneously suggests that it is native to Peru.

The photographed tree is below the large India rubber-tree growing near the Mayagüez Terrace entrance. It is the only member of the species in the campus.

Fruit: this link.


Thevetia peruviana (Apocynaceae)