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Among these compounds are oleandrin and oleandrigenin, known as cardiac glycosides, which are known to have a narrow therapeutic index and can be toxic when ingested.Toxicity studies of animals administered oleander extract concluded that rodents and birds were observed to be relatively insensitive to oleander cardiac glycosides.Larvae of the common crow butterfly (Euploea core) also feed on oleanders, and they retain or modify toxins, making them unpalatable to potential predators such as birds, but not to other invertebrates such as spiders and wasps.The flowers require insect visits to set seed, and seem to be pollinated through a deception mechanism.
They therefore receive very few visits, as typical of many rewardless flower species.
The solid whites, reds and a variety of pinks are the most common.
Double flowered cultivars like "Mrs Isadore Dyer" (deep pink), "Mathilde Ferrier" (yellow) or "Mont Blanc" (white) are enjoyed for their large, rose-like blooms and strong fragrance.
It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though southwest Asia has been suggested.
The ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco may have taken its name from the Berber name oualilt for the flower.