Strophanthus gratus is also known as Climbing Oleander. It is a climbing shrub, a form of liana. Strophanthus gratus grows 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. It is native to tropical Africa, Senegal, and Congo.
The foliage is elliptic. It is glossy green. The leaves 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. The corolla are slightly pinkish. It usually flowers in November and December in its native habitat.
After flowering, it produces a fruit capsule. The capsule is about 40cm or 16in long. The capsule contains orange, hairy seeds that could also be lengthy.
How to grow Strophanthus gratus:
Grow it with diffused light and a lot of humidity. Plant it in moist, rich slightly acidic soil. It is a fast grower. In fact, it grows 3ft or 1m each season. Propagate Strophanthus gratus from seed or cuttings.
Strophanthus gratus is very toxic, they made poison from the seeds, the bark, and the roots. Ouabain or g-strophanthin can be derived from Strophanthus gratus seeds, this is a toxic substance used traditionally as an arrow poison in Africa. It is also a cardiac glycoside which in lower doses, can treat hypotension and arrhythmias. Traditionally they used the leaves 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.