Thevetia peruviana – Be-still Tree

Thevetia peruviana - Be-still Tree, Luckynut, Yellow Oleander

Thevetia peruviana - Be-still Tree, Luckynut, Yellow Oleander (yellow flower)

Thevetia peruviana - Be-still Tree, Luckynut, Yellow Oleander (fruit)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Thevetia peruviana

Synonyms: Cascabela thevetia, Cerbera thevetia, Thevetia neriifolia

Common Names: Be-still Tree, Luckynut, Yellow Oleander

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced

Flower Color: Yellow, Pale orange (rare)

Height: Up to 23 feet (7 m) tall, but usually less

Description: The flowers are funnel-shaped, 3 inches (7.6 cm) long, and have 5 overlapping petals that open in a spiraled pinwheel. The flowers are followed by 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) in diameter, angled, semi-rhomboid, green ripening to brown or black fruits that usually contain two seeds. The leaves are glossy green above, pale green below, leathery, hairless, spirally arranged, and linear-lanceolate in shape. The broken foliage oozes toxic white latex sap.

Here in Hawaii, Be-still Tree is a common landscaping plant and now grows wild in some disturbed mesic (moderately wet) areas. The plants are spread by seed.

Special Characteristics

Poisonous – All parts of the plant and especially the seeds are highly poisonous and contain toxic cardiac glycosides like Thevetin and Peruvoside that can cause severe illness or even death if ingested. The sap may cause skin irritation. Burning the wood or plant material can produce toxic smoke.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae – Dogbane family
Genus: Thevetia Adans. – thevetia
Species: Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. – luckynut

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map