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Catharanthus roseus 6576.JPG
Catharanthus roseus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Rauvolfioideae
Tribe: Vinceae
Subtribe: Catharanthinae
Genus: Catharanthus
Type species
Catharanthus roseus
(L.) G.Don.[1]
  • Ammocallis Small
  • Lochnera Rchb. ex Endl., illegitimate superfluous name

Catharanthus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae. Like the genus Vinca, they are known commonly as periwinkles.[3] There are eight known species. Seven are endemic to Madagascar,[4] though one, C. roseus, is widely naturalized around the world.[2][5] The eighth species, C. pusillus, is native to India and Sri Lanka.[6] The name Catharanthus comes from the Greek for "pure flower".[7]

These are perennial herbs with oppositely or almost oppositely arranged leaves. Flowers are usually solitary in the leaf axils. Each has a calyx with five long, narrow lobes and a corolla with a tubular throat and five lobes.[7]

Catharanthus roseus, known formerly as Vinca rosea, is a main source of vinca alkaloids, now sometimes called catharanthus alkaloids. The plant produces about 130 of these compounds, including vinblastine and vincristine, two drugs used to treat cancer.[8][9][10][11]

Catharanthus roseus is also cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens. Several cultivars have been bred to produce flowers in many shades of pink, red, lilac, and white, or in light shades with dark throats.[12]

  1. Catharanthus coriaceus Markgr. – Madagascar
  2. Catharanthus lanceus (Bojer ex A.DC.) Pichon – Madagascar
  3. Catharanthus longifolius (Pichon) Pichon – Madagascar
  4. Catharanthus ovalis Markgr. – Madagascar
  5. Catharanthus pusillus (Murray) G.Don. – India, Sri Lanka, Western Himalayas
  6. Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don. – Madagascar periwinkle, old-maid, rosy periwinkle, pink periwinkle – Madagascar; naturalized in Italy, S Asia, Australia, S United States, Central America, India and various oceanic islands
  7. Catharanthus scitulus (Pichon) Pichon – Madagascar
  8. Catharanthus trichophyllus (Baker) Pichon – Madagascar. It is also known as Sadabahar or Baramasi in India.


  1. ^ lectotype designated by Pfeiffer, Nom. 1: 627 (1873)
  2. ^ a b c "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Catharanthus. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  4. ^ Catharanthus. Madagascar Catalogue. eFloras.
  5. ^ "Catharanthus roseus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Catharanthus pusillus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Catharanthus. The Jepson eFlora 2013.
  8. ^ van Der Heijden, R.; et al. (2004). "The catharanthus alkaloids: pharmacognosy and biotechnology". Current Medicinal Chemistry. 11 (5): 607–28. doi:10.2174/0929867043455846. PMID 15032608.
  9. ^ Cooper, Raymond; Deakin, Jeffrey John (2016). "Africa's gift to the world". Botanical Miracles: Chemistry of Plants That Changed the World. CRC Press. pp. 46–51. ISBN 9781498704304.
  10. ^ Keglevich, Péter; Hazai, Laszlo; Kalaus, György; Szántay, Csaba (2012). "Modifications on the basic skeletons of vinblastine and vincristine". Molecules. 17 (5): 5893–5914. doi:10.3390/molecules17055893. PMC 6268133. PMID 22609781.
  11. ^ Raviña, Enrique (2011). "Vinca alkaloids". The evolution of drug discovery: From traditional medicines to modern drugs. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 157–159. ISBN 9783527326693.
  12. ^ Catharanthus roseus. Missouri Botanical Garden.

External links