seeds of Thevetia neriifolia, Lucky Nut
seeds of Thevetia neriifolia, also known as Lucky-Nut
Thevetia neriifolia belongs to the family of the Apocynaceae. It is native to Peru. It is also known as the Lucky Nut.
The plant is very toxic in all its part because it includes cardiac glycosides. If one eats just a little part of any of the plant parts one will have several symptoms of poisoning. Usually it leads to death. Just few bird species in the tropics are able to eat the fruit without any poisonous effect. T. neriifolia includes latex that causes skin irritation if one touches it. In Europe T. neriifolia is cultivated as an ornamental plant. In some tropic regions it is used as a pesticide, because of its highly poisonous effect.
T. neriifolia grows as a tree that gets 3 to 4 m high. The leaves are long; they get up to 15 cm long and just 1 cm wide. They are dark green and the bottom of the leaf is lighter than the upper side of the leaf. The leaves are glossy.
The flowers are actinomorphic and funnel shaped. They can be creamy, apricot or yellow in color and reach 5 cm in diameter.
The fruit is edgy, light green before it is ripe and black when it is ripe. The fruit reaches about 4 cm in diameter and includes mostly two seeds that are brownish or black in color. They are very hard.
Cultivation from seeds
The seeds are very poisonous. One should avoid any contact with the skin and wear gloves while planting the seeds. The seeds of T. neriifolia should be put into warm water for 24 to 48 h before planting. After that they can be planted 2 cm deep into the substrate. If the temperature is about 25 °C and the substrate is kept moist, germination occurs after 1 to 4 weeks.