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Products > Thevetia thevetioides
Thevetia thevetioides - Giant Thevetia
Image of Thevetia thevetioides
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Apocynaceae (Dogbanes & Milkweeds)
Origin: West Indies (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Summer/Winter
Synonyms: [Cascabela thevetioides]
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Thevetia thevetioides (Giant Thevetia) - A small, open, evergreen tropical tree that grows typically as a large shrub in Southern California where it reaches to 15 to 20 feet tall and is usually fairly sparsely foliaged with attractive dark green leaves at the branch tips; the linear leaves are 3 to 6 inches long by ˝ inch wide with the edges rolled underneath and pronounced veins on underside of the leaf. From mid-summer to late fall this plant produces showy 4-inch-wide bright yellow funnel-shaped flowers.

Plant in full sun and give regular irrigation in the summer. Hardy to 27° F. An interesting and attractive tree that adds tropical fare to the landscape, but it should be noted that its milky sap contains a cardiac glycoside called thevetin so care should be used as all parts of the plant are considered poisonous.

Thevetia thevetioides grows naturally in the West Indies, in southern Mexico from Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico south into and Belize. The name for the genus honors André Thevet (1502-1592) a French monk who traveled in Brazil and Guiana and the specific epithet thevetioides means "similar to the Thevetia" as reference to the similarity of this plant with the plants in the genus Thevetia. This specific name makes more sense now that the original name Cascabela thevetioides, which the German botanist Carl Sigismund Kunth (1788-1850) first used to describe this plant in 1819, has been resurrected. We continue to use the name Thevetia thevetioides until this name change gains more general acceptance. The name Cascabela comes from the common name "Cascabel" used for this plant in Mexico with its origin being from the Spanish word 'cascavel' or 'cascabela' which means a small bell, a rattlesnake rattle or the snake itself with one thought being that it a reference to the plant being poisonous like a rattlesnake. Other common names used for this plant include Giant Helveti, Giant Lucky Nut and Be-still Tree. We have grown and sold this attractive plant since 1995. This plant should not be confused with the smaller more common Yellow Oleander, Cascabela thevetia, that has long been cultivated in California under the names Thevetia peruviana or Thevetia neriifolia. 

This information about Thevetia thevetioides displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.