Strophanthus gratus is also known as Climbing Oleander. It is a climbing shrub a form of liana. Strophanthus gratus can grow up to 80ft or 25m with only a 10cm diameter stem. It is part of the Apocynaceae family of plants. It is a tropical plant and native to tropical Africa, Senegal, and Congo.
The foliage is elliptic glossy green they can grow to about 20cm or 8in long. The petiole which is the leaf stem is purple. The flowers which are fragrant are purple-pink in the center and the corolla leaves are slightly pinkish. It usually flowers in November and December in its native regions. After flowering, it produces a fruit capsule that could be about 40cm or 16in long and contain orange, hairy seeds that could also be lengthy. Propagate Strophanthus gratus from seed or cuttings. It is a fast grower in fact in grow 3ft or 1m each season. Grow it with diffused light and a lot of humidity and plant it in moist, rich slightly acidic soil.
Strophanthus gratus is very toxic, the seeds, the bark, and the roots have been used to make a poison. Ouabain or g-strophanthin can be derived from Strophanthus gratus seeds, this is a toxic substance used traditionally as an arrow poison in Africa but it is also a cardiac glycoside which in lower doses, can treat hypotension and arrhythmias. But traditionally the leaf has been used to treat gonorrhea, the bark for weakness, a tea from the leaves to help constipation, the root for an aphrodisiac, and the seeds as a heart stimulant.