Thevetia peruviana  (Pers.) K. Schum. Yellow oleander  - Apocynaceae

Yellow oleander, Thevetia peruviana, an evergreen tree native to tropical America, is now widely planted in both hemispheres.  Triangular fruits contain toxic glycosides that can affect the heart. 

Natives of theWest Indies carry them in their purses for the good luck they are purported to bring.  For the same reason they are pressed into the hands of babies at birth.  In medieval times many thought that evil spirits entered the body through the eye.  Because the shape of the yellow oleander  seed resembled that of a deer's eye, people believed the seed had power to deflect the evil eye, the bearer of all manner of misfortune.11

In Peru armbands and anklets of the smooth brown nuts worn by dancers, click an accompaniment to the performer's movements.  Nuts are strung as beads and worn by the tribes of west India. They also dominate many necklaces made by Amazonian tribes.

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