Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don
Ammocallis rosea (L.) Small
Lochnera rosea (L.) Rchb. ex Spach
Vinca rosea L.
Vinca Rosea, Madagascar Periwinkle
The Madagascar periwinkle is a native of Madagascar, now endangered there, but cultivated and naturalized in subtropical and tropical areas elsewhere.
Identification: 24-36" (60-91 cm) in height. Leaves are dark green, glossy, oval, up to 5" (12 cm) long x 2" (5 cm) wide. Flowers have five petals and are rose pink. (There are many cultivars with red, purple, and white flowers too. Cultivars may have brighter or contrasting coloration at the center of the bloom.) When broken, stems exude a sticky white sap.
Edibility: Poisonous This plant is toxic to cows and people.
Medical: Madagascar periwinkle has been used to treat wasp stings, arrest bleeding, reduce sore throats, an eyewash, for menorrhagia and rheumatism, diabetes, asthma, flatulence, tuberculosis, dyspepsia, indigestion, malaria, high blood pressure, and dysmenorrhea. Though it bears mention that each culture applied the plant for a different one of these purposes, calling these uses into question. But in recent years, this periwinkle has attracted serious medical attention because it contains several alkaloids of use in treating several cancers. See the National Tropical Botanical Garden article.
Catharanthus roseus on Wikipedia
Catharanthus roseus at the National Tropical Botanical Garden
Catharanthus roseus on FLORIDATA
Catharanthus roseus on ARKive: Images of Life on Earth
Catharanthus roseus on CalPhotos
Catharanthus roseus on Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site
Catharanthus roseus at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Catharanthus roseus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.