Ajuntament de Barcelona

Thevetia peruviana

Jardins de Miramar i camí dels Cims

    Catalan name: 
    Baladre groc
    Spanish name: 
    Adelfa amarilla
    English name: 
    Species characteristics
    Mexico and tropical America
    Riparian forest at a height from 50 to 200 m

    Perennial shrub 3-5 m tall, although it can reach 10 m, with short trunk and irregularly ramified. The bark is greyish and have lenticels (protuberances acting as pores between tissues) and over the time can become rough.

    The leaves, 7-15 cm long and 0.5-1.2 cm wide, are alternate and entire, with diminished base and short and slightly pointed apex. They are slightly leathery and bright green on the upper side and lighter green on the lower side, with marked central nerve and not very noticeable secondary nervation.

    The fragrant funnel-shaped flowers, 4-6 cm long, appear into cymes (inflorescences that have the main axis finished by a flower). The cyms are usually terminal, although they can also be lateral, and have a peduncle less than 1 cm. The calyx have triangular sepals, 5.5-7 mm long, with elongated tip and the trumpet-shaped or fennel-shaped corolla, 1.2-2.5 cm long, is formed by five yellow or orangish obovate lobes.

    The fruits are fleshy globose drupes, 4-5 cm in diameter, which have slightly compressed sides making four sides. The colour varies according the riping grade: green when young, bright red later and finally black when ripe. In the inside there is a brown triangular or almond-shaped stone containing 2-4 lenticular light grey seeds, about 2-3.5 cm.

    Flowering time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Lucky Nuts are used as a decoration bush in meridian areas because of the beauty of its flowers, its appearance and its resilience to diseases and pathogens, either on its own or in group. It is also used in popular medicine.

    Its latex is toxic, so contact must be avoided.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Thevetia peruviana, consists of the genus name Thevetia, dedicated to the French missionary and botanist André Thévet (1502-1590), and the Latin term peruviana, “Peruvian, from Peru”.

    Some American native cultures use the dry seeds to make necklaces and amulets to atract good luck.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001