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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Gentianales

Familia: Apocynaceae
Subfamilia: Rauvolfioideae
Tribus: Vinceae
Subtribus: Catharanthinae
Genus: Catharanthus
Species: C. coriaceus – C. lanceus – C. longifolius – C. makayensis – C. ovalis – C. pusillus – C. roseus – C. scitulus – C. trichophyllus

Catharanthus G.Don, Gen. Hist. 4: 71, 94-95 (1837)

Type species: Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don, Gen. Hist. 4: 95 (1837)


Lochnera Rchb. ex Endl., Gen. Pl. 583. (1838) nom. inval.
Ammocallis Small, Fl. S. E. U. S. 935. (1903)


Don, G. 1837. A General History of the Dichlamydeous Plants 4(1): 71, 95–96.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2017. Catharanthus in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Oct. 6. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2017. Catharanthus. Published online. Accessed: Oct 6 2017. 2017. Catharanthus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Oct. 6.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Catharanthen
English: Periwinkle
suomi: Katarat
svenska: Rosenskönesläktet

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] Seed dispersal by ant, wind and water. Catharanthus roseus pollinated by butterflies and moths.


Catharanthus coriaceus Markgr. – Madagascar
Catharanthus lanceus (Bojer ex A.DC.) Pichon – Madagascar
Catharanthus longifolius (Pichon) Pichon – Madagascar
Catharanthus ovalis Markgr. – Madagascar
Catharanthus pusillus (Murray) G.Don. – India, Sri Lanka, Western Himalayas
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
Catharanthus scitulus (Pichon) Pichon – Madagascar
Catharanthus trichophyllus (Baker) Pichon – Madagascar. It is also known as Sadabahar or Baramasi in India.

The plant bears flowers all over the year. Hence it is known as 'Sadaphuli' in Marathi.


lectotype designated by Pfeiffer, Nom. 1: 627 (1873)
"World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Retrieved May 21, 2014.
Catharanthus. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Catharanthus. Madagascar Catalogue. eFloras.
"Catharanthus roseus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved December 12, 2017.
"Catharanthus pusillus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved December 12, 2017.
Catharanthus. The Jepson eFlora 2013.
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.
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.
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.
Raviña, Enrique (2011). "Vinca alkaloids". The evolution of drug discovery: From traditional medicines to modern drugs. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 157–159. ISBN 9783527326693.
Catharanthus roseus. Missouri Botanical Garden.

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