Phylogeography of representative plant species of the Mediterranean flora


Nerium oleander L.








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Riverine population of Nerium oleander near Jalance  (Valencia, Spain), 07.2007, © E. Laguna


Description: An evergreen tall multi-branched shrub or tree up to 4-5 m. Stems green to grey, with noxious latex. Narrow, coriaceous leaves, often verticillated in whorls of 3-4; leaves use to be inserted in a acute angle on the stems. Flowers hermaphrodite, big (up to 4-5 cm), pink, in dense clusters. The fruit is a woody follicle holding feathery seeds, easily dispersed by wind and river water. All part of the plant are noxious. Diploid, 2n=22.


Flower  and fruit in seed dispersal. Jalance (07.2007) and Calles (03.2003), province of Valencia (Spain), © E. Laguna


Distribution: Warm zones of the Mediterranean-climate area, extending South towards the aride zones of Northern Africa and the Middle East. It lacks in most parts of the Northern Mediterranean.


Distribution map of Nerium oleander*

*From BOLŇS, O. & J. VIGO (1984-2001), reproduced with the editor's permission.


Habitat: Rivers and ouadis, becoming a dominant species on the dry riverine landscapes of the Southern Mediterranean, up to 600-800 m.


Variability: Although the high number of horticultural races and cultivars of N. oleander, this species seems to be few variable in size and aspect in wild.


Aged specimens in Almenara (Castellón, Spain), 03.2007, © E. Laguna


FILMED's selected populations: Argelia (9), Cyprus (2), France (2), Greece (5), Israel (1), Italy (4), Lybia (2), Marocco (5), Spain (16), Tunisia (2), Turkey (4)



-BOLŇS, O. & J. VIGO (1984-2001). Flora dels Paďsos Catalans. 4 vols. Ed. Barcino. Barcelona.

-BURNIE, D. 1995. Wild flowers of the Mediterranean. 320 pp. Dorling Kindersley. London.

-DAVIES, P. & B. GIBBONS. 1993. Field guide to the Wild Flowers of Southern Europe. 320 pp. Crowood Press. Marlborough.

-POLUNIN, O. & A. HUXLEY. 1990. Flowers of the Mediterranean. 2nd ed. 272 pp. Chatto & Windus. London.

POLUNIN, O. & B.E. SMITHIES. 1997. Flowers of South-West Europe. 480 pp. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

-SCHÖNFELDER, I. & 9. SCHÖNFELDER. 1984. Collins photoguide to the wildflowers of the Mediterranean. Collins. London.

-TUTIN, T.G., V.H. HEYWOOD, N.A. BURGES, D.H. VALENTINE, S.M. WALTERS & D.A. WEBB. 1964-1980. Flora Europaea. 5 vols. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

-VEDEL, H. 1978. Trees and shrubs of the Mediterranean. Penguin. London.


Hinojosa del Duque (Córdoba, Spain), 07.2007, © E. Laguna


Recommended webpages:

-Virtual Herbarium of the Western Mediterranean:

-Flora Iberica:


-Mediterranean Wildflowers (pictures):

-Spanish Wildflowers (pictures):





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