Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don

Sub-Family: Not available
English Name: Rose Periwinkle
Synonym: Vinca rosea L.
Common Name: Ushamalari
Flowering & Fruiting Period: August-January
Distribution: Native of Madagascar; now naturalised in the tropics
Habitat: Grown as ornamental plants also naturalised
Uses: Madagascar periwinkle has long been used as a traditional medicine. The plant is cultivated as a source of alkaloids, a number of which are extracted and used allopathically. The alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine are prescribed in anticancer therapy, particularly in cases of acute leukaemia (especially in children) and Hodgkin's lymphoma. The dried root is an industrial source of ajmalicine, which increases the blood flow in the brain and peripheral parts of the body. Preparations of ajmalicine are used to treat the psychological and behavioural problems of senility, sensory problems, cranial traumas.
Key Characteristics: Perennial woody herbs; young stems, leaves and calyx puberulous. Leavs simple, opposite, decussate. Flowers axillary, solitary or paired, shortly pedicellate. Calyx-lobes 5, subequal. Corolla pink or white; lobes 5, triangular-obovate, obtuse. Stamens 5, included. Follicles 2-3 x 0.2-0.3 cm, linear, puberulous; seeds many, black.