Suicide tree is a dicotyledonous angiosperm, a plant species in the family Apocynaceae and commonly known as the suicide tree
, and othalam.
It bears a fruit known as othalanga
that yields a potent poison that has been used for suicide and murder. It is a species native to India and other parts of southern Asia, growing preferentially in coastal salt swamps and in marshy areas but also grown as a hedge plant between home compounds.
It yields a potent poison, often used for suicide or murder.
Suicide tree is a tree native to India and other parts of S. Asia. It grows preferentially in coastal salt swamps and in marshy areas. It grows wild along the coast in many parts of Western Ghats and has been grown as a hedge between home compounds. It yields a potent poison, often used for suicide or murder. Flower are white, showy, star-shaped, 5-7 cm, with a small yellow center. Leaves are 12-30 cm long, oval, dark green and glossy, held in dense spirals at the tips of the twigs. The fruit, when still green, looks like a small mango, with a green fibrous shell enclosing an ovoid kernel measuring approximately 2 cm × 1.5 cm and consisting of two cross-matching white fleshy halves. On exposure to air, the white kernel turns violet, then dark grey, and ultimately brown, or black. The plant as a whole yields a milky, white latex. Cerbera odollam bears a close resemblance to the Oleander bush, another highly toxic plant from the same family.
Suicide Tree bears a close resemblance to oleander, another highly toxic plant from the same family. Its branchlets are whorled about the trunk, and its leaves are terminally crowded, with tapering bases, acuminate apices, and entire margins. The plant as a whole yields a milky, white latex.
A leaf decoction is added to an aromatic bath after childbirth. The bark, leaves and latex are considered to be emetic and purgative. The seed, and in particular the seed oil, is toxic and strongly purgative. The fruits are used for manufacturing bioinsecticides and deodorants. Investigations have also been made into the feasibility of using the seeds as a feedstock in the production of biodiesel.