Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don (Apocynaceae)
(2n = 16, 32)
Syn: Lochnera rosea (L.) Spach, Vinca rosea L.
English names: Madagascar periwinkle, Old maid, Red periwinkle.
Vernacular names: Ben: Nayantara; Hin : Sada sawagon; Lad: Swet chandu; Mal: Ushamalari; Mar: Sadaphul; Ori : Ainskati; Pun: Rattanjot; Tam: Sudukadu Mallikai; Tel: Billaganneru.
Trade name: Nayantara.
Traditional use: BODO: (i) Plant: in cancer, diabetes, (ii ) Leaf: in menorrhagia; LODHA : (i) Root-paste: in septic wounds, (ii) Root-decoction (with paste of long peppers) : in fever, (iii) Leaf-juice: in blood dysentery, (iv) Leaf-decoction: to babies in gripping pain; SANTAL : (i) Latex: in scabies, (ii) Seed-powder (with decoction of black pepper) : in epilepsy; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT: Root: in cancerous wounds.
Modern use: Plant-extract: antimitotic; Root (alkaloids) : in cancer, and as emetic, hypotensive, sedative and antiviral.
Phytography : A small herb or subshrub, up to 75 cm high; leaves elliptic-ovate to oblong, 4-10 by 2-4 cm, glabrous to puberulous, base acute or cuneate, apex obtusely apiculate, lateral nerves 10-12 pairs, petiole 1.0-1.5 cm; flowers in axillary or terminal cymes; solitary or paired, shortly pedicellate, pink or white or white with pink or yellow ring in orifice region; mericarps 3-4 by 0.3 cm, puberulous.
Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: throughout the year.
Distribution: A native of West Indies; commonly grown in gardens throughout India;
Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Ecology and cultivation: Plains from the coasts, in wastelands, fallow fields, less on the hills 800-1400 m, also widely cultivated.
Chemical contents : Root-bark: vincaline I & II; Root: vinblastine or vinleukoblastine (VLB), vincristine or vinleurocristine (VCR), ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, ajmalicine, alstonine; Stem: vinca rodine, vincoline, vinamidine,leurocolombine, vincathicine, vincubine; Leaf: leurosine, vindoline, catharanthine, lochnerine, tetrahydroalstonine, roseoside, essential oil; Seed: vincedine, vincedicine, tabersonine.