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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.The genus name Nerium is the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek name for the plant Nerion (νἠριον), which is in turn derived from the Greek for water, 'neros' (νἠρος), because of the natural habitat of the Oleander along rivers and streams. Merriam-Webster believes it is a Medieval Latin corruption of either arodandrum, lorandrum (Late Latin), or more plausibly rhododendron (another Ancient Greek name for the plant), with the addition of Olea because of the superficial resemblance to the Olive tree.

They are so prolific that Galveston is known as the 'Oleander City'; an annual Oleander festival is hosted every spring.In Mediterranean climates Oleanders can be expected to bloom from April through October, with the heaviest bloom usually occurring between May and June.Free-flowering varieties like 'Petite Salmon' or 'Mont Blanc' require no period of rest and can flower continuously throughout the year if the weather remains warm.The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink to red, Nerium oleander is either native or naturalized to a broad area from Mauritania, Morocco, and Portugal eastward through the Mediterranean region and the Sahara (where it is only found sporadically), to the Arabian peninsula, southern Asia, and as far east as Yunnan in southern parts of China.It typically occurs around stream beds in river valleys, where it can alternatively tolerate long seasons of drought and inundation from winter rains.