Catharanthus roseus

Species:Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don
Common Name:Madagascar Periwinkle; Rosy Periwinkle; Cayenne Jasmine
Habitat:Waste areas, trash piles, and disturbed sites. A rare escape from cultivation.
Associated Ecological Communities:**
Growth Habit:Herb
USDA Symbol:CARO14
Plant Notes:Madagascar Periwinkle is an introduced frost sensitive sub-shrub in the Dogbane family (Apocynaceae). It is native and endemic to Madagascar, but is widely planted as an ornamental. It Alabama it has been collected as an escape in the southern half of the state. Madagascar Periwinkle occurs along roads and sidewalks, on vacant lots, and around trash dumps. It is a frost sensitive sub-shrub from a tap root that is grown as an annual in our area. Stems are erect, branched, up to 3 feet in height, somewhat woody at the base, longitudinally ridged or narrowly winged, green or reddish in color, and slightly pubescent (at least when young). Leaves are alternate, short petiolate, elliptic to oblong in outline, entire, and slightly pubescent or glabrous. The leaves are dark glossy green in color with pale veins. Flowers are produced in pairs from the leaf axils. Each flower has 5 narrow, green sepals. The corolla is salverform with a long narrow tube and 5 spreading lobes. Flower color varies from white through pink to red. The center of the flower is often white in color. The fruit is a follicle. Madagascar Periwinkle is the source of two drugs (vincristine and vinblastine) that are used to treat cancer. It is often used as a bedding plant and flowers throughout the summer. It prefers a well-draining soil in full sun to part shade. Plants can be grown from seed or cuttings.—A. Diamond
Taxonomic Notes:**
Status:Not Persisting, Not Native
Specimen: View specimen details in the Alabama Herbarium Consortium Specimen Database

** Not applicable or data not available.


FamilyAPOCYNACEAE - Dogbane family
Genus Catharanthus
Species Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don - Madagascar Periwinkle; Rosy Periwinkle; Cayenne Jasmine


Citation Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don, Gen. Hist. 4(1): 95. 1837.
Basionym: Vinca rosea L. 1759.
Type: Without data (lectotype: "Vinca, foliis oblongo-ovatis integerrimis, tubo floris longissimo caule ramoso fruticoso" in Miller, Fig. Pl. Gard. Dict., 2: 124, t. 186. 1757). Lectotypified by Codd in Dyer & al. (ed.), Fl. Southern Africa 26 : 268. 1963.

** Not applicable or data not available.


SynonymFull CitationBasionymType
Ammocallis rosea Ammocallis rosea (Linnaeus) Small, Fl. S.E. U.S. 936, 1336. 1903.Vinca rosea Linnaeus 1759. 
Catharanthus roseus var. angustus Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don, var. angustus Steenis ex Bakhuizen f., Blumea 6: 384. 1950. Cult. Indonesia, garden in Buitenzorg, v. Steenis s.n. (holotype: L).
Catharanthus roseus var. nanus Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don, var. nanus Markgraf, Adansonia, ser. 2. 12: 222. 1972. MADAGASCAR: Without locality, Descoings 1021 (holotype: ?).
Lochnera rosea Lochnera rosea (Linnaeus) Reichenbach ex Endlicher, Gen. Pl. 583. 1838.Vinca rosea Linnaeus 1759. 
Vinca speciosa Vinca speciosa Salisbury, Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton 147. 1796, nom. illegit.Vinca rosea Linnaeus 1759. 
Vinca rosea Vinca rosea Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 10. 944. 1759. Cult. England, Chelsea Garden, Miller 1849 (lectotype: BM). Lecto- typified by Stearn, in Taylor & Farnsworth, Catharanthus Alkaloids 35. 1975.

Specimens and Distribution

This species has been reported in the following counties by the herbaria listed. An overview of the individual specimens are provided in the table that follows. Click on the accession number to view details; click on column headers to sort; choose a county or herbaria to filter the specimen data.

Counties included on distribution map: Baldwin, Butler, Coffee, Geneva, Lee, Montgomery, Pike

Counties represented by specimen data listed below:

Herbaria represented by specimen data listed below: ALNHS, AMAL, AUA, BRIT, TROY, UWAL

Range of years during which specimens were collected: -

Barcode / Accession No. County Coll. Date Collector &
Collection No.
Herbarium &
Herbarium Name Used
AUA000030933 Lee 12 Jul 1970 Morris, Kermit
Catharanthus Roseus (L.) G. Don
AMAL00013692 Montgomery 5 Jun 2006 Spaulding, Daniel D.
Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don
ALNHS00002487 Lee 26 Oct 2013 Barger, T. Wayne
Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don
UWAL0042905 Baldwin 08 Sep 2006 Larsen, Harry S.
Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don
TROY000049008 Geneva 31 Jul 2019 Diamond, Alvin R.
Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don
UWAL0016024 Butler 24 Nov 2012 Diamond, Alvin R.
Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don
TROY000049019 Pike 05 Sep 2019 Diamond, Alvin R.
Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don
AUA000030934 Montgomery 7 Oct 1991 Diamond, Alvin R.
Catharanthus Roseus (L.) G. Don
BRIT73071 Geneva 18 Sep 1971 Kral, Robert
Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don
TROY000036264 Butler 24 Nov 2012 Diamond, Alvin R.
Catharanthus roseus (Linnaeus) G. Don
AUA000030932 Coffee 25 Jul 1969 Moore, Harold D.
Catharanthus Roseus (L.) G. Don
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