peruviana is a plant probably native to
Central America and a close relative to
Nerium oleander. It is an evergreen tropical shrub or small
tree that bears yellow or orange-yellow, trumpet like flowers and
its fruit is deep red/black in colour encasing a large seed that
bears some resemblance to a Chinese "lucky nut."
It contains a milky sap containing a compound
thevetin that is used as a heart stimulant but in its natural
form is extremely poisonous, as are all parts of the plants,
especially the seeds. Its leaves are long, lance shaped and green in
colour. Leaves are covered in waxy coating to reduce water loss
(typical of oleanders). Its stem is green turning silver/gray as it
ages. Can be grown as shrub or tree outside in warmer climates but
in frost prone areas best brought back inside for winter. Will
tolerate most kinds of soil as long as they are well drained and is
situated in full sun in a sheltered area. Useful as a landscaping
plant in warmer climates as it does not need much maintenance.
Propagate by seed in spring (clean seed coat
in a glass containing 10% bleach 90% warm water for 2-3min; after
wash seed and soak in warm water for 24h). Can also propagate from
cuttings in spring-early summer with hardwood cuttings.
These plants are toxic to most vertebrates as
they contain cardiac glycosides. Many cases of intentional and
accidental poisoning of humans are known.
A few bird species are however known to feed on them without any ill
effects. These include the
Common Myna and
Common Grey Hornbill.
The toxins are cardenolides called Thevetin A
and Thevetin B (Cerebroside), others include peruvoside, neriifolin,
thevetoxin and ruvoside. These cardenolides are not destroyed by
drying or heating and they are very similar to digoxin from
Digitalis purpurea. They produce gastric and cardiotoxic effects.
Antidotes for treatment include atropine and Digoxin antibodies and
treatment may include oral administration of activate charcoal.
These toxins have also been experimented for
use in pest control.
Link to Comparative study of Thevetia peruviana and Jatropha curcas
seed oils as a feedstock for Grease production.
Link to Growth and Yield Response of Thevetia peruviana to applied N
and P fertilizers in Southern Guinea Savannah of Nigeria
Journal of Applied Sciences & Environmental
Management, Vol. 6, No. 2, Dec, 2002, pp. 61-65
Variation in Oil Composition of Thevetia
peruviana Juss 'Yellow Oleander' Fruit Seeds
*IBIYEMI1, S A; FADIPE, V O; AKINREMI,1
O O; BAKO,2 S S
1Chemistry Department, University of
Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
2Chemistry Department, Ahmadu
Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
*Author to whom correspondence may
Code Number: ja02030
ABSTRACT: Thevetia peruviana J 'Yellow
Oleander' is a potential oil seed (63% oil) and good alternative protein
source (37%) for livestock feeds. The plant remains an ornamental plant
because of the high level of toxins in the seeds. Thevetia peruviana, a
tropical oil-seed plant can be grouped into four varieties based on the
number of kernels per fruits; two varieties based on the colour of the
flower and three varieties based on the geographical locations. The
two-seed variety is the richest in oil (63%); examinations of the oils
for variations based on the geographical location show that plants
growing in the middle region of Nigeria have the best oil properties.
The fatty acid composition of purple colored flowers is slightly higher
in unsaturated fatty acids; and oils from seeds of the driest zone was
higher in level of total unsaturation of the oil (62.7%) @JASEM
Thevetia peruviana J belongs to the order
apocynales and Apocynaceae family. It is a native of tropical America;
especially Mexico and West Indies, but has naturalized in tropical
regions worldwide. It is cultivated and remains an ornamental shrub in
spite of the high oil content (63%) and favourable protein content (37%)
of the seed. The defatted seed cake however has a high level of toxicity
et al., 1966; Bisset, 1963; Chen and Henderson, 1963; Aleshkina and
Berezhinskaya, 1963; Sticker, 1970). It is likely that the attention
given to toxins has distracted interest from proper research of the oil
and protein that would have promoted its industrial and domestic
potentials. Several feeding experiments (Atteh et al., 1990;
Atteh et al., 1995) and thermal studies (Ibiyemi et al.,
1995) have shown that the oil has a very good replacement value for
orthodox domestic vegetable oils. Pot experiments (Ibiyemi and Faloye,
1990) show that the plant responds well to nitrogenous fertilizer and
its response to calcium and phosphorus follows the normal pattern for
most plants (Ibiyemi and Popoola, 1991; Manchanda et al., 1982;
Prasad and Shina, 1981). Oil from T. peruviana will compete
effectively with orthodox oils if its plantations would be
developed. This report does not provide good evidence for the
chemotaxonomy variability of the plant. They, however, serve as
take-off board that shall freshly stimulate necessary collaborative
research by chemists with horticulturists or geneticists for future
development of the plant plantations for specific utility values of
T. peruviana plant.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This study carves Nigeria into three zones along the
major vegetation belts: thick forest, dispersed forest and grassland
savannah. These three geographical zones, each representing a rainbelt,
were selected for collection of fruits for the study. Three plants were
randomly selected for each zone: Ilorin and Edidi represent a region of
medium rainfall, spreading over 5 months per year; Enugu has a rainfall
spreading over 7 months, while Zaria represents the driest region with
about 4 months of rainfall per year. Two plants with purple-color-
flower available from Enugu were studied for flower-type. About 300
fruits that had ripened were collected for each plant.
Variety in this report implies: Fruits with the same
number of kernels per fruit, Fruits from the same geographical location,
Fruit from plants with same color of flower. Kernels from fruits of each
variety were crushed to obtain a paste, which was exhaustively extracted
by Soxhlet method with petroleum ether (60 to 80° C) to obtain the oil.
The proximate analytical properties: saponification value, iodine value,
peroxide value, acid value, unsaponification value of each varietal -
type oil were determined by Standard Official and Tentative Methods of
Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS 1979). The fatty acid composition of each
was determined by Gas Liquid Chromatography (GLC) analysis of the methyl
ester. Two drops of each oils were treated with 0.1 ml of 8% BF3/methanol
solution in a screw capped centrifuge tube. This was then flushed with
nitrogen and heated at 100° C for one hour. Analysis was carried out
using Perkin-Elmer 82440 capillary gas chromagography (GC) fitted with a
Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) and a flexible fused silica open-tubular
column 30 x 0.32mm internal diameter, coated with OMEGAWAX 320. The
program of column temperature was initially 185° C for 18 minutes; them
increased at 3° C/min to 230° C. Helium was used as carrier gas at a
pressure of 12psi. The injection pot and detector were maintained at
250° C and 270° C respectively. Peaks were identified using authentic
standards. The percentage of each fatty acid component was calculated as
the peak area percent of the total of all fatty acids. Statistical
analysis of the results of the fatty acid methyl esters is by the Duncan
grouping procedure while other data were analyzed by analysis of
variance (ANOVA) method.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
T. peruviana_ plants have been grown as an
ornamental plant in homes, schools and churches for over fifty years in
Nigeria, by missionaries and explorers. It grows more abundantly wildly
and as ornamental flower hedge in the wetter southern
region. Similarities in the results of analysis of soil samples for
nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for the four locations suggest that
soil effect does not contribute to any variation in the results of our
studies. Varietal differences therefore shall be attributed to either
climatic factors or fruit - type.
Thevetia peruviana plants grown as hedge
produce more than 400-800 fruits per annum depending on the rainfall and
plant age. The long break in rainfall experienced in July and August in
Ilorin and Edidi in 1996 caused a significant statistical decrease in
the number of fruits each plant produced that year.
Plants grown in the middle-belt rain region produced
flowers about a year earlier than those from Zaria, the drier region. Fruit
population distribution for variety based on geographical location
follows the same pattern.
There is a significant variation in the
population distribution for each of the four-seed variety. The fruit -
type however follows the same distribution pattern. Location by type
i.e. the relative behaviour of each fruit - type distribution is uniform
regardless of the location i.e. the best fruit - type in one location
will be the best in another location and vice versa. The population of
the one-seed variety in Zaria is significantly lower than the population
of the same variety in other regions except Enugu. The population of the
2-seed variety in Zaria is significantly different from the population
in Ilorin. The population of the 4-seed variety is significantly low in
This result could suggest that the fruit varieties
based on number of kernels is hereditary and preserved under different
climatic conditions. For purpose of plantation development, both
one-seed and two-seed varieties are recommended to plant breeders for
possible trials. The one-seed and two-seed plants produce more fruits
per hectare, and although the two-seed plant produces fewer fruits than
the one-seed, it however produces more oil than the one-seed plant and
this will be to advantage.
The statistical analysis of each of the
saponification value, iodine value, peroxide value, etc (Table
2b) of the oils show that there are varying significant differences
among the fruit- types. There are less significant variations for the
refractive index and specific gravity for the oil samples. Each
variation does not follow a definite pattern.
The number of kernels per fruit and the oil yield (Table
2a) are significantly different among geographical locations.
There is also
significant difference in the pattern of variation between weight of fruits
and their geographical locations. Statistical analysis of the results from
analysis of the fruits and oils from the four locations (Table 3)
indicates that there is no significant variation in the value of free fatty
acids, peroxide value, refractive index and specific gravity for oils from
the four geographical locations. Zaria sample with the lowest weight of
fruit has the highest oil yield and vice versa whereas among Zaria, Ilorin
and Edidi on one hand, and Enugu, Ilorin and Edidi on the other hand, there
is no significant variation.
All data on the oils (Table 4)
from plants producing purple flower suggest that there is no distinct
varietal classification of the plant based on the flower
colour. Statistical analysis of the results of the fatty acid (Tables 5,
using Duncan grouping procedure for the degree of unsaturation does not
indicate any convincing variation among the seed number and geographical
location varieties. The raw data however is considered to provide possible
guide to plant breeders that plants in Zaria with the lowest rainfall, have
the lowest number of fruits per plant, highest oil content and highest
degree of unsaturation for the oils.
Our studies have involved the four-seed-type
fruits from each plant stock. The anticipated genetic variation basic to
chemotaxonomy is not obvious for the four-seed-types from the data in our
present studies. The persistence of the four-seed-type in the four
geographical locations suggests genetic heredity that is not influenced by
climatic variations. Propagation of T. peruviana plant using each
seed-type as cultivar is desirable and strongly recommended to plant
breeders. The high oil and protein content provides sufficient incentive
for propagation of T. peruviana plant to improve the economic status
as in Sunflower Helianthus and Rapeseed L. Work is in progress on
irradiation of both the fruits and the kernels for possible genetic
variations that may produce strains with little or no toxins and retain the
high protein and oil content. Future studies shall be concerned with
determining other forms of propagation, particularly cloning, to produce
varieties for specialty utility.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: S.A. Ibiyemi is grateful to
the University of Ilorin and Ahmadu Bello University for financial
- Aleshkina Y.A., Berezhinskaya, V.V. (1963);
Pharmacology of the glycosides of Thevetia neriifolia. Chem.
Abstract, 58: 11867c.
- Atteh, J.O., Ibiyemi, S.A., Onadepo, F.A.,
Ugbona, O.O., (1990); Replacement of palm oil by T.Peruviana oil
in broiler chick diets. J. Agric Sci. Cambridge 115: 114 - 143.
- Atteh J.O., Ibiyemi, S.A., Ojo, A.O. (1995);
Response of broilers to dietary levels of T.peruviana cake.
Ibid, 125, 310-313.
- Bisset N.G, (1963); Cardiac glycosides IV.
Apocynaceae: A preliminary paper chromatographic studies of the
glycosides from T. peruviana. Chem. Abstract.58:14438h &
- Chen K.K, Henderson, F.G. (1963); Cardiac
activity of apocynaceous glycosides and aglycons. Chem. Abstract. 57:
- Ching-Chang, H., Keng-Hsing, H., Shao-Hsien, L.
(1966); Pharmacology of the glycosides of T. peruviana. Chem.
- Hui, Y., Man-chi, S. (1965), The cardiac
glycoside and new glycosides of T. perusitin, isolation and
identification of cerberin, ruvoside and new glycoside perusitin.
Chem. Abstract. 63: 62955a.
- Ibiyemi S.A., Faloye, T. (1990); Potassium,
Nitrogen and Calcium uptake by T. peruviana seedlings as affected
by various nutrient sources. Nigerian J. of Agronomy: 3(2): 68-73.
- Ibiyemi S.A., Popoola, S.O. (1991); Effect
of fertilizers on the P, Mg and Na uptake by T.peruviana
seedlings, ibid (in press).
- Ibiyemi S.A. Bako, S.S., Ojukuku, G.O., Fadipe,
V.O. (1995); Thermal stability of T.peruviana Juss seed oil. J.
Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 72(6): 745-747.
- Manchanda H.R, Sharma, S.K., Bhandari, D.K.
(1982); Response of Barley and Wheat to Phosphorus in the presence of
Chloride and Sulphate salinity, Can. J. But 6: 233 - 241.
- Official and Tentative Methods of the American
Oil Chemists' Society, (1979) Vol. 1 AOCS, Champaign, IL.
- Prasad B., Shina, N.P. (1981); Balance sheet of
soil phosphorus and potassium as influenced by intensive cropping and
fertilizer use. Soil and Plants 60: 187 - 193.
- Sticker, O. (1970); Theveside, a new Iridoid
T.peruviana; Tet. Lett. 36: 3195-3196.
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