by Stephen Mifsud
   2 Mar 2024      ()
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Nerium oleander   (Oleander)

Nerium oleander  (APOCYNACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Nerium oleander - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 02-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Nerium oleanderL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 209 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Oleander vulgaris Medik.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Apocynaceae Juss. (The Dogbane Family)
7 species from the Apocynaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Oleander, Rose Bay

Maltese name(s) :

Difla, Olejandru, Siġret il-Ġarab

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – December

Colour of Flowers:

Red, White or Pink


Highly toxic and can lead to death even if consumed in minute quantities

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Encouraged to be planted in the wild that is in rural areas including ODZ.

Remarks :

A riparian short tree that is native to the Mediterranean region including the south of Sicily. Nerium oleander possibly existed in Malta before man, but current known populations in the Maltese islands seem to be cultivated or naturalised in suitable habitats. Some trees which were planted or naturalised in valley sides have grown to admiriable large sizes.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: River-banks and river-gravels. Frequently planted for ornament, and perhaps only naturalized in some areas
Preferred habitat in Malta: Cultivated as ornamental tree with some naturalised populations occurring mostly in valley sides, damp maquis or persistent in abandoned farms or field margins. Native to central and east Mediterranean region (including Sicily) where it occurs primarily as a riparian tree in wetland areas. It might have been native in Malta too, but current records appear to be naturalised from cultivated origins.
Botanical Description: Stems up to 4 m. Leaves 6-12(-15) x 1.2-2(-3) cm, linear-lanceolate, acute, coriaceous. Calyx densely glandular inside. Corolla (2-)3-4 cm in diameter, usually pink; tube 2 cm, the lobes 2 cm, obtuse, patent. Anther-appendages long, hairy, twisted. Follicles 8-16 x 0.5-1 cm, erect, reddish-brown.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, S. Portugal
Native region outside Europe: Throughout the Mediterranean area and eastwards to central Asia.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  the Azores
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE Ag Al Bl(I M) Co Cr Cy Ga(F) Gr Hs(S) IJ It Ju Li LS Lu Ma Sa Si(S) Tn Tu(A E) [cAz Az(F P S T) aSi(M)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (11 images)
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-0.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-1.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-2.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-3.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-4.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-5.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-6.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-7.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-8.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-9.
   Nerium oleander   -   Image Code: NRMOL-10.

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