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Overview

Brief Summary

Succinct

Widespread ornamental subshrub of Malagasy origin with attractive pink or white flowers, a source of powerful anticancer drugs.
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Introduction

Catharanthus roseus, the Madagascar periwinkle or rosy periwinkle, is an attractive small subshrub with graceful pink or white salverform flowers. Native to southeastern and eastern Madagascar, the plant is easily cultivated, and European colonists exported it widely as an ornamental. It is now grown almost worldwide, and is found naturalized in most tropical and subtropical regions following escapes from cultivation. Madagascar periwinkle was used in Madagascar, and in many of the countries to which it was later spread, as a folk treatment for diabetes. Researchers investigating its medicinal properties discovered that it contained a group of alkaloids that, though extremely toxic, had potential uses in cancer treatment. Two of these alkaloids, vincristine and vinblastine, can be used in purified form to treat common types of leukemia and lymphoma. The discovery of vincristine is credited with raising the survival rate of childhood leukemia from under 10% to over 90%. Thousands of children’s lives have therefore been saved by an extract of this humble garden plant.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

Erect or decumbent suffrutex, to 1 m, usually with white latex. Stems green, often suffused with purple or red. Leaves decussate, petiolate; lamina variable, elliptic, obovate or narrowly obovate; apex mucronate. Flowers 4-5 cm, showy, white or pink, with a purple, red, pale yellow or white centre. Follicle 1.2-3.8 × 0.2-0.3 cm, dehiscent on the adaxial side. Seeds 1-2 mm, numerous, grooved on one side.
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Derivation of specific name

roseus: rose, rosy
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Plains, Naturalized, Cultivated, Native of Tropical America"
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Specimen Information

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Original Description

Vinca rosea, as this species was originally named, was published by Linnaeus in Syst. Nat., ed. 10, p. 944 (1759). 

Link to image of the original publication: www.botanicus.org/item/31753000798873

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Voucher Material and Specimens

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Distribution

Worldwide distribution

Native to Madagascar
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Native to Madagascar; introduced into many temperate and tropical areas on various continents and islands worldwide. 0-1000 m elevation.

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"Found along roadsides and fallows. Common. Native of Madagascar, widely naturalized in the tropics."
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"Karnataka: Hassan, Mysore Kerala: All districts Tamil Nadu: All districts"
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Distribution: A native of Madagascar, widely cultivated and naturalized in tropics and subtropics of both hemisphere.
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Native of tropical America; widely naturalised elsewhere in the tropics.
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Distribution

Native to Madagascar, the Madagascar periwinkle has been spread worldwide as a cultivated ornamental.  It may now be found naturalized in almost every tropical and subtropical region of the world, occurring on every continent except Antarctica and on many islands.  No single available distribution map reflects its complete range; for example, no specimens from Papua New Guinea are present in the dataset used to generate the map on this page.

References

Global Biodiversity Information Facility

USDA PLANTS profile for Catharanthus roseus

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.

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Physical Description

Morphology

"
Flower

In axillary, solitary or paired; white or pink. Flowering throughout the year.

Fruit

A cylindric, paired mericarp, finely ribbed; seeds many, oblong, truncate at both ends. Fruiting throughout the year.

Field tips

Leaves shining, sometime with axillary glands.

Leaf Arrangement

Opposite-decussate

Leaf Type

Simple

Leaf Shape

Elliptic-obovate

Leaf Apex

Obtusely apiculate

Leaf Base

Acute-cuneate

Leaf Margin

Entire

"
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Description

Perennial subshrub, woody at base, 30-60 cm tall, young branches pubescent. Leaves oblong or oblanceolate, membranous, 2.5-6 x 1.5-3 cm, entire, obtuse or mucronate, base obtuse or cuneate, glabrous or sparingly hairy specially on nerves beneath, shining green above, paler below, lateral nerves obscure; petiole short, 3-10 mm long, with many glands at the axil. Inflorescence of axillary 1-4 flowered cymes, Flowers pink or white, pedicel 1-3 mm long. Calyx tube short, lobes linear acute, 5-7 mm long, hairy. Corolla tube 20-25 mm long, sparsely pubescent above, throat densely hairy within below the stamens, lobes oblong-rounded, or obovate, 15-25 mm long spreading Disc scales higher than ovary, c. 2-3 mm long. Ovary pubescent; style c. 2.5 cm long; stigma pentagonal. Follicles 2, slender, cylindric, striated. 15-25 mm long.
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Elevation Range

150-1500 m
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Description

Subshrubs or perennial herbs to 1 m tall, erect or decumbent. Young stems puberulent. Leaves obovate or elliptic, 2.5-9 X 1-3.5 cm, herbaceous, apex minutely apiculate; lateral veins 7-11 pairs. Corolla red to pink or white and then mostly with a pink or less often yellow eye; tube 2.5-3 cm, pilose inside, throat villous; lobes broadly obovate, 1.2-2 cm. Follicles 2-3.8 cm X ca. 3 mm. Fl. spring-autumn. 2n = 16.
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Size

Physical Description

Perennial subshrub or herb, usually erect, 30–100 cm high and at least somewhat woody at the base, sometimes sprawling. Leaves opposite, borne on short petioles, 2.5–9.0 cm long, usually elliptical to obovate, green with paler veins (at least in living plants); leaf apex rounded to acute with a tiny point extending from the midrib. Stems and leaves usually pubescent, sometimes hairless. Flowers borne in leaf axils, either singly or paired on very short stalks. Sepals 5, 2–6 mm long, narrow, usually pubescent. Corolla salverform, with a long narrow tube and lobes that spread perpendicular to the tube and almost flat (like a tray or "salver"); corolla tube greenish, usually at least 2.2 cm long, with the inside of the mouth often dark pink or sometimes yellow, pubescent inside the throat with rings of stiff hairs below the mouth and anthers; corolla lobes 5, pink to white or pinkish purple, 1.0–2.8 cm long, obovate. Anthers 5, attached to the inside of the corolla tube in the upper portion and concealed within it. Ovary split into two separate carpels, which above those are fused into a single style and a pistil head having a complicated structure, with a recurved basal veil and a densely pubescent ring below the cylinder that bears the stigma lobes. Fruit two narrow, linear-cylindrical follicles developing from the separate carpels, often only one maturing per flower, 2.0–4.7 cm long, with numerous small black seeds.

References

Forster, P. I. 1996. Apocynaceae.  Fl. Australia 28: 104–196.

Li P.-T., A. J. M. Leeuwenberg, and D. J. Middleton. 1995. Apocynaceae. Pp. 143–188 in Wu Z.-Y. and P. H. Raven, eds., Flora of China vol. 16. Science Press, Beijing, and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, MO.

Markgraf, F. 1976. Apocynacées. Fl. Madagascar 169: 1–318.

Plaizier, A. C. 1985. Catharanthus. Fl. Zambesiaca 7(2): 453–456.

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don.  Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9–46.

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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Habit: A small, erect herb, upto 50cm."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Shrub
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Synonym

Vinca rosea Linnaeus, Syst. Nat. ed. 10. 944. 1759; Ammocallis rosea (Linnaeus) Small; Catharanthus roseus var. albus G. Don; Lochnera rosea (Linnaeus) Reichenbach ex Endlicher; L. rosea var. alba (G. Don) Hubbard; L. rosea var. flava Tsiang; Pervinca rosea (Linnaeus) Moench; V. rosea var. alba (G. Don) Sweet.
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Formal Description

Subshrub or herb (15–)30–100(–200) cm high, erect or decumbent; base usually woody with pale gray bark; latex white.  Stems terete, longitudinally ridged or narrowly winged, green or dark red, pubescent at least when young.  Leaves decussate, stipulate; stipules 2–4, acuminate, <1(–2) mm long; petiole (1–)3–11 mm long, narrowly winged, green or red; blade (1.0–)2.5–9.0 x (0.6–)0.8–4.0 cm, elliptical to obovate, oblong, or rarely lanceolate; apex mucronulate, rounded to acute or obtuse; base cuneate to attenuate; margins entire, sometimes ciliate; venation pinnate with 7–11 pairs of lateral veins; both surfaces dark green with pale lateral veins in living material; petiole, stipules, and blade pubescent or glabrous.  Inflorescences axillary; flowers paired on peduncles 1–4 mm long or solitary, subsessile; inflorescence pubescent or glabrous.  Sepals 5, 2–6 mm long, basally connate, narrowly triangular, subulate, pubescent or glabrous.  Corolla salverform; tube usually greenish, (1.5–)2.2–3.0 cm long, externally glabrous or pubescent, internally pubescent with strigose rings below mouth and below insertion point of stamens; lobes 5, pink to white or reddish purple, often with a darker or yellowish center, (0.5–)1.0–2.8 cm long, broadly obovate with narrowed base and rounded, usually cuspidate apex, sometimes pubescent.  Stamens 5, inserted in widest upper portion of corolla tube; anthers subsessile, 2.2–3.0 mm long, narrowly triangular, included within corolla tube.  Gynoecium of 2 free carpels below, syncarpous above; ovary pubescent or glabrous; single style 15–24 mm long; terminal pistal head bearing a recurved basal veil, pubescent ring, and pubescent cylinder with bilobed stigma; disk of 2 glands, 2–4 mm long, alternating with carpels.  Fruit 2 follicles, (1.2–)2.0–4.7 cm long, linear-terete, erect, longitudinally ridged, green, pubescent or glabrous; seeds numerous, black, 1–3 mm long, irregularly oblong.

References

Forster, P. I. 1996. Apocynaceae. Fl. Australia 28: 104-196.

Li P.-T., A. J. M. Leeuwenberg and D. J. Middleton. 1995. Apocynaceae. Pp. 143–188 in Wu Z.-Y. and P. H. Raven, eds., Flora of China vol. 16. Science Press, Beijing, and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, MO.

Markgraf, F. 1976. Apocynacées. Fl. Madagascar 169: 1-318.

Plaizier, A. C. 1985. Catharanthus. Fl. Zambesiaca 7(2): 453-456.

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

Fujian, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [native to Madagascar, cultivated or naturalized in all tropical countries]
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Madagascar periwinkle is a tolerant plant that can become established in a variety of tropical and subtropical habitats.  In Madagascar, the plant’s native home, it has been collected in open woods, shrublands, grasslands, and disturbed areas, along roadsides, and on beaches and limestone rocks.  It is found from sea level to 900 m altitude, on a variety of substrates. 

Reference

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.

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Population Biology

Frequency

Locally common
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General Ecology

Ecological Determinants/Niche

Madagascar periwinkle may prefer sandy soil at low altitudes but is capable of surviving in a variety of tropical and subtropical habitats, including in disturbed areas.  It is self-compatible, and has spread from cultivation to become naturalized in many parts of the world.  Some therefore consider the plant to be an invasive weed.  Although it does readily escape from cultivation, it does not proliferate to the point of overgrowing and wiping out native vegetation in areas where it becomes established, as do seriously invasive plants such as kudzu or Japanese knotweed.  Its introduction therefore probably does not cause significant harm to most local ecosystems.

References

Catharanthus weediness risk assessment for Hawai’i (with useful references)

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: Throughout the year.
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Life Cycle

Life History

Madagascar periwinkle is a perennial that readily establishes itself in tropical and subtropical areas to which it is introduced.  Its flowers are probably pollinated by butterflies and moths, as the floral structure is adapted to pollination by a long-tongued insect (Albers and van der Maesen, 1994).  Unlike most species in its family, Madagscar periwinkle is self-compatible; self-pollination may be relatively uncommon in practice, although certain genetic variants have been identified whose floral structure is physically conducive to intraflower self-pollination (Kulkarni et al. 2005).

References

Albers, P. and L. J. G. van der Maesen. 1994. Pollination of Apocynaceae.  Wageningen Agric. Univ. Papers 94-3: 61–81.

Kulkarni, R. N., Y. Sreevalli and K. Baskaran. 2005. Allelic differences at two loci govern different mechanisms of intraflower self-pollination in self-pollinating strains of periwinkle. J. Hered. 96: 71-77.

Sreevalli, Y., K. Baskaran, R. N. Kulkarni and S. Kumar. 2000. Further evidence for the absence of automatic and intra-flower self-pollination in periwinkle. Curr. Sci. 79: 1648-1649.

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Reproduction

Reproduction and Life History

Madagascar periwinkle is a perennial plant that readily establishes itself in tropical and subtropical areas to which it is introduced.  Flowers are visited by a wide variety of insects, including butterflies, bees, flies, and beetles, but only butterflies or moths are likely to serve as pollinators, as the floral structure is adapted to pollination by a long-tongued insect (Albers and van der Maesen, 1994).  Unlike most species in its family, Madagascar periwinkle is self-compatible; however, self-pollination under normal conditions may be relatively uncommon.  Intraflower self-pollination usually does not occur because of the physical separation between the stigma and anthers, but three distinct genetic variants have been identified that have elongated ovaries or styles and thus do demonstrate intraflower self-pollination (Kulkarni et al. 2005). 

References

Albers, P. and L. J. G. van der Maesen. 1994. Pollination of Apocynaceae.  Wageningen Agric. Univ. Papers 94-3: 61-81.

Kulkarni, R. N., Y. Sreevalli and K. Baskaran. 2005. Allelic differences at two loci govern different mechanisms of intraflower self-pollination in self-pollinating strains of periwinkle. J. Hered. 96: 71-77.

Sreevalli, Y., K. Baskaran, R. N. Kulkarni and S. Kumar. 2000. Further evidence for the absence of automatic and intra-flower self-pollination in periwinkle.  Curr. Sci. 79: 1648-1649.

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Evolution and Systematics

Systematics or Phylogenetics

Nomenclatural History

Madagascar periwinkle was initially named Vinca rosea L.  The synonym Pervinca rosea (L.) Moench was published in 1794.  Pervinca is a synonym of Vinca; the first species described within Pervinca were species previously and currently placed within Vinca.  It eventually became clear that Linnaeus’ circumscription of Vinca had been too broad:  the Madagascar periwinkle and its immediate relatives were distinct from the Vinca periwinkles and should be separated into a different genus.  Upon the publication of Catharanthus for that purpose (in 1837), the correct name of the species became Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.  Following that date, two other authors also described new genera to include C. roseus, creating the synonyms Lochnera rosea (L.) Rchb. ex Endl. and Ammocallis rosea (L.) Small.  Because the name C. roseus is older, it has priority over these names.

References

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.

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Image of the original publication of Vinca rosea

Image of the original publication of Catharanthus roseus

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Nomenclature and synonymy

In addition to the basionym or original name, Vinca rosea L., other nomenclatural synonyms of Catharanthus roseus include Ammocallis rosea (L.) Small, Lochnera rosea (L.) Rchb. ex Endl., and Pervinca rosea (L.) Moench.  Vinca guilelmi-waldemarii Klotzsch was recognized as a heterotypic synonym in the most recent revision (van Bergen, 1996).

References

van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.

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Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Physiology and Biochemistry

Madagascar periwinkle contains a large number of toxic alkaloids, the best known of which are vincristine and vinblastine.  These purified compounds are used as chemotherapy for certain cancers, particularly leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease.  Vincristine has been credited with raising the childhood leukemia survival rate from less than 10% to over 90%.  Both vinblastine and vincristine are bisindole alkaloids, dimers formed from the fusion of two indole alkaloid monomers (catharanthine and vindoline); vincristine is only slightly different from vinblastine and can be chemically derived from the latter.  Modified derivatives that may have less severe side effects are now also used in cancer treatment.  Many other indole alkaloids are present in C. roseus and in related species.  To date, it has not been possible to manufacture these compounds synthetically.  As they are naturally present only in very small quantities, considerable research has been conducted to elucidate their biosynthetic pathways and devise ways of improving alkaloid yield in cell cultures.

References

Cyberbotanica:  Vinblastine, Vincristine, Vindesine, Vinorelbine

Gupta, M. M., D. V. Singh, A. K. Tripathi, R. Pandey, R. K. Verma, S. Singh, A. K. Shasany and S. P. S. Khanuja. 2005. Simultaneous determination of vincristine, vinblastine, catharanthine, and vindoline in leaves of Catharanthus roseus by high-performance liquid chromatography. J. Chromatogr. Sci. 43: 450-453.

Ishikawa, H., G. I. Elliott, J. Velcicky, Y. Choi and D. L. Boger. 2006. Total synthesis of (-)- and ent-(+)-vindoline and related alkaloids. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128: 10596-10612.

MedlinePlus Drug Information: Vincristine

MedlinePlus Drug Information: Vinblastine

Moreno, P. R. H., R. van der Heijden and R. Verpoorte. 1995. Cell and tissue cultures of Catharanthus roseus: A literature survey. Plant Cell Tiss. Org. Cult. 42: 1-25.

Pasquali, G., D. Denardi Porto and A. Germano Fett-Neto. 2006. Metabolic engineering of cell cultures versus whole plant complexity in production of bioactive monoterpene indole alkaloids: recent progress related to old dilemma. J. Biosci. Bioeng. 101: 287-296.

Schröder group’s Catharanthus research website and chemical structures of vincristine and vinblastine with their biosynthetic pathway

St-Pierre, B., F. A. Vazquez-Flota and V. De Luca. 1999. Multicellular compartmentation of Catharanthus roseus alkaloid biosynthesis predicts intercellular translocation of a pathway intermediate. Plant Cell 11: 887-900.

van der Heijden, R., D. I. Jacobs, W. Snoeijer, D. Hallard and R. Verpoorte.  2004. The Catharanthus alkaloids: pharmacognosy and biotechnology. Curr. Med. Chem. 11: 607-628.

Zhao, J., Q. Hu, Y.-Q. Guo and W.-H. Zhu. 2001. Elicitor-induced indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus cell cultures is related to Ca2+ influx and the oxidative burst. Plant Sci. 161: 423-431.

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Cell Biology

Chromosomal Data

A chromosome number of n=8, 2n=16, has been reported by multiple publications.  Although a number of publications have reported experiments upon artificially produced autotetraploids in cultivation, it appears that wild populations are, so far as is known, exclusively diploid.

References

Balamani, G. V. A., and R. S. Rao. 1981. In Chromosome number reports LXXIII.  Taxon 30: 855-856.

Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers searchable database

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Chemistry

The alkaloids vincristine (leucocristine) and vinblastine (vincaleukoblastine) are used to treat children's leukemia and Hodgkin's disease. More than 70 other alkaloids have been isolated.

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  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • Luu, C. 1975. Contribution à l'étude des plantes médicinales de la Guyane Francaise. Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliqué 22(4-6): 121-141.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • Soejarto, D.D. and N.R. Farnsworth. 1989. Tropical rain forests: potential source of new drugs? Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 32(2): 244-256.
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vinca rosea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Catharanthus roseus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Catharanthus roseus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 14
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lochnera rosea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular biological research on Catharanthus roseus has been directed primarily towards elucidating the genes and enzymes that are responsible for the production of indole and bisindole alkaloids, such as the cancer-treating compounds vincristine and vinblastine.  Some work has also been done on the genetics of flower color and self-pollination.  It has been shown that multiple genes are responsible for flower color.  Two genetically distinct mechanisms have been identified that permit intrafloral self-pollination by elongating the ovary or style to bring the stigma physically closer to the anthers (Kulkarni et al. 2005); both are due to recessive genes.  A few recent references are given below.

References

Dutta, A., Batra, S. Pandey-Rai, D. Singh, S. Kumar and J. Sen. 2005.  Expression of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic pathway genes corresponds to accumulation of related alkaloids in Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. Planta 220: 376-383.

Dutta, A., D. Singh, S. Kumar and J. Sen. 2007. Transcript profiling of terpenoid indole alkaloid pathway genes and regulators reveals strong expression of repressors in Catharanthus roseus cell cultures. Plant Cell Rep. 26: 907-915.

Irmler, S., G. Schröder, B. St-Pierre, N. P. Crouch, M. Hotze, J. Schmidt, D. Strack, U. Matern and J. Schröder. 2000. Indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus:  new enzyme activities and identification of cytochrome P450 CYP72A1 as secologanin synthase. Plant J. 24: 797-804.

Kulkarni, R. N., K. Baskaran and Y. Sreevalli. 2005. Genetics of novel corolla colours in periwinkle. Euphytica 144: 101-107.

Kulkarni, R. N., Y. Sreevalli and K. Baskaran. 2005. Allelic differences at two loci govern different mechanisms of intraflower self-pollination in self-pollinating strains of periwinkle. J. Hered. 96: 71-77.

Menke, F. L. H., S. Parchmann, M. J. Mueller, J. W. Kigne and J. Memelink.  1999. Involvement of the octadecanoid pathway and protein phosphorylation in fungal elicitor-induced expression of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic genes in Catharanthus roseus. Plant Physiol. 119: 1289-1296.

Pauw, B., F. A. O. Hilliou, V. Sandonis Martin, G. Chatel, C. J. F. de Wolf, A. Champion, M. Pré, B. van Duijn, J. W. Kijne, L. van der Fits and J. Memelink. 2004. Zinc finger proteins act as transcriptional repressors of alkaloid biosynthesis genes in Catharanthus roseus. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 52940-52948.

Schulze-Muth, P., S. Irmler, G. Schröder, and J. Schröder. 1996. Novel type of receptor-like protein kinase from a higher plant (Catharanthus roseus). J. Biol. Chem. 271: 26684-26689.

Shukla, A. K., A. K. Shasany, M. M. Gupta and S. P. Khanuja. 2006.  Transcriptome analysis in Catharanthus roseus leaves and roots for comparative terpenoid indole alkaloid profiles. J. Exp. Bot. 57: 3921-3932.

Sreevalli, Y., R. N. Kulkarni and K. Baskaran. 2002. Inheritance of flower color in periwinkle: orange-red corolla and white eye. J. Hered. 93: 55-58.

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Conservation

Catharanthus roseus is not of conservation concern.  Although forests in Madagascar are highly threatened by human activity, C. roseus is also able to thrive in disturbed areas, and it has become established in the wild in many other countries.
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Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Reasons: Native to Madagascar, introduced into many temperate and tropical areas worldwide, including Panama, North America, Caribbean Islands, and Africa.

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Threats

Horticulture/Agriculture

Madagascar periwinkle is widely cultivated as an ornamental (see "How to Grow").  Large quantities of material are required for production of the anticancer alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine or derivatives thereof, which to date cannot be manufactured synthetically.  A substantial body of research exists regarding means of enhancing indole alkaloid production in cell and tissue cultures.

References

A Guide for Commercial Production of Vinca

Dave’s Garden

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida

Moreno, P. R. H., R. van der Heijden and R. Verpoorte. 1995. Cell and tissue cultures of Catharanthus roseus: A literature survey. Plant Cell Tiss. Org. Cult. 42: 1-25.

Snoeijer, W. 1996. Catharanthus roseus, the Madagascar Periwinkle, a review of its cultivars. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96(3): 47-120.

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How to Grow

Detailed instructions on cultivation of the Madagascar periwinkle are available.  As evidenced by its widespread naturalization in warm areas, the plant germinates readily from seed, requires little water or fertilizer, and is not choosy about soil type (though deep digging and use of compost are recommended to provide a loose, well-drained soil).  Pruning is advised to maintain a good shape, and the root ball of potted plants can also be pruned back annually.  Plants to be kept alive in hibernation over a temperate winter must be kept indoors, preferably at a temperature of at least 12°C.  Snoeijer (1996) found that seed germination is improved by covering a pot with plastic for increased humidity, sowing the seeds on top of the soil, and exposing them to light; however, other authorities favor germination in the dark.  Plants may also be propagated by cuttings.

References

A Guide for Commercial Production of Vinca

Dave’s Garden

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida

Snoeijer, W. 1996. Catharanthus roseus, the Madagascar Periwinkle, a review of its cultivars. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96(3): 47-120.

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Suppliers

As a common garden ornamental, Madagascar periwinkle can be obtained from nurseries or plant suppliers in many parts of the world.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Stem and Leaf: Leafy branches in remedy to cure inhibited menstruation. Leaf: Infusion or decoction used for hypertension, diabetes control, dropsy, cleansing the blood, and for a cholagogue and aperitif (appetite stimulant). Used to treat urinary tract ailments in NW Guyana. Flower: Infusion for mild diabetes.

  • Austin, D.F. and G.R. Bourne. 1992. Notes on Guyana's medical ethnobotany. Economic Botany 46(3): 293-298.
  • Duke, J.A. 1985. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 677 pp. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • Luu, C. 1975. Contribution à l'étude des plantes médicinales de la Guyane Francaise. Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliqué 22(4-6): 121-141.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Folklore

Indigenous Information: The roots are said to be poisonous.
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Uses

Exported in bulk for preparing drugs. It can be dangerous if consumed orally since it is hallucinogenic.
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Ethnobotany

Madagascar periwinkle has been widely distributed for long enough that it has gained medicinal uses for a variety of purposes far from its native land of Madagascar.  Most notably, the plant is or has been used for diabetes in places as diverse as Madagascar, South Africa, Jamaica, Suriname, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, and Australia.  Studies using animal models of diabetes have found that crude extracts of Madagascar periwinkle do reduce blood glucose levels.  The mechanism of action of this activity is not understood, although the alkaloids now used to treat leukemia were discovered by researchers investigating the plant’s antidiabetic potential.  High blood pressure is another condition sometimes treated with Madagascar periwinkle; as noted under “Toxicity,” large doses of the plant can cause hypotension, indicating the plausibility of this use.  Although two of the bisindole alkaloids from Madagascar periwinkle (vincristine and vinblastine) are used as pharmaceutical drugs to treat leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease, crude extracts of the plant do not contain enough of these compounds that they could be used as effective cancer treatments (if they did, they would be extremely toxic), and there is little or no folk use for similar purposes.

References

Ahmed, A. U., A. H. Ferdous, S. K. Saha, S. Nahar, M. A. Awal and F. Parvin.  2007. Hypoglycemic effect of Catharanthus roseus in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Mymensingh Med. J. 16: 143-148.

Farnsworth, N. R. 1961. The pharmacognosy of the periwinkles: Vinca and Catharanthus. Lloydia 24: 105-138.

National Tropical Botanical Garden Plant Database

Nammi, S., M. K. Boini, S. D. Lodagala and R. B. Behara. 2003. The juice of fresh leaves of Catharanthus roseus Linn. reduces blood glucose in normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits. BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 3: 4

Nayak, B. S. and L. M. Pinto Pereira. 2006. Catharanthus roseus flower extract has wound-healing activity in Sprague Dawley rats. BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 6: 41.

Noble, R. L. 1990. The discovery of the vinca alkaloids — chemotherapeutic agents against cancer. Biochem. Cell Biol. 68: 1344–1351.

Singh, S. N., P. Vats, S. Suri, R. Shyam, M. M. Kumria, S. Ranganathan and K. Sridharan. 2001. Effect of an antidiabetic extract of Catharanthus roseus on enzymic activities in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. J. Ethnopharmacol. 76: 269-277.

Taylor, W. I., and N. R. Farnsworth, eds. 1975. The Catharanthus Alkaloids:  Botany, Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Clinical Use. M. Dekker, New York.

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Where it is Grown

Madagascar periwinkle is cultivated over most of the world, and has become naturalized in almost every tropical and subtropical region. In cooler areas, it is cultivated as an annual or indoor plant.
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Risks

Toxicity, Symptoms and Treatment

Animals consuming large amounts of Madagascar periwinkle while grazing have been observed to suffer from hypotension, neurotoxicity, anemia, seizures, and death.  No specific treatments are known; Burrows and Tyrl (2001) recommend supportive treatment including sedation and, if appropriate, activated charcoal.  Traditional human medicinal uses of Madagascar periwinkle do not cause similar toxicity, apparently because the quantities consumed are too small to provide a lethal dose of the toxic alkaloids.
The isolated cancer-fighting alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine have serious side effects, including neurotoxicity, bone marrow damage, and direct damage to exposed tissue if the intravenously administered solution penetrates a vein.  A surprising number of medical accidents have involved doctors’ confusing IV solutions of vincristine with other drugs meant to be administered into the spinal fluid; this is usually fatal even after aggressive treatment and leaves most survivors with extreme damage.  Vincristine and vinblastine can also cause severe birth defects.

References

Burrows, G. E., and R. J. Tyrl. 2001. Toxic Plants of North America. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA.

Cyberbotanica:  Vinblastine, Vincristine, Vindesine, Vinorelbine

MedlinePlus Drug Information: Vincristine

MedlinePlus Drug Information: Vinblastine

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Wikipedia

Catharanthus roseus

Catharanthus roseus, commonly known as the Madagascar periwinkle, is a species of Catharanthus native and endemic to Madagascar. Other English names occasionally used include Vinca, Cape periwinkle, rose periwinkle, rosy periwinkle, and "old-maid".[1][2]

Synonyms[edit]

Two varieties are recognized

  • Catharanthus roseus var. roseus
Synonymy for this variety
Catharanthus roseus var. angustus Steenis ex Bakhuizen f.[3]
Catharanthus roseus var. albus G.Don [4]
Catharanthus roseus var. occellatus G.Don[5]
Catharanthus roseus var. nanusMarkgr.[6]
Lochnera rosea f. alba (G.Don) Woodson[7]
Lochnera rosea var. ocellata (G.Don) Woodson
  • Catharanthus roseus var. angustus (Steenis) Bakh. f.[8]
Synonymy for this variety
Catharanthus roseus var. nanus Markgr.[9]
Lochnera rosea var. angusta Steenis [10]

Description[edit]

It is an evergreen subshrub or herbaceous plant growing 1 m tall. The leaves are oval to oblong, 2.5–9 cm long and 1–3.5 cm broad, glossy green, hairless, with a pale midrib and a short petiole 1–1.8 cm long; they are arranged in opposite pairs. The flowers are white to dark pink with a darker red centre, with a basal tube 2.5–3 cm long and a corolla 2–5 cm diameter with five petal-like lobes. The fruit is a pair of follicles 2–4 cm long and 3 mm broad.[11][12][13][14]

In the wild, it is an endangered plant; the main cause of decline is habitat destruction by slash and burn agriculture.[15] It is also however widely cultivated and is naturalised in subtropical and tropical areas of the world.[11]

Pale Pink with Red Centre Cultivar

Cultivation and uses[edit]

The species has long been cultivated for herbal medicine and as an ornamental plant. In Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) the extracts of its roots and shoots, though poisonous, is used against several diseases.[citation needed] In traditional Chinese medicine, extracts from it have been used against numerous diseases, including diabetes, malaria, and Hodgkin's lymphoma.[12] The substances vinblastine and vincristine extracted from the plant are used in the treatment of leukemia [15] and Hodgkin's lymphoma.

This conflict between historical indigenous use, and recent patents on C.roseus-derived drugs by western pharmaceutical companies, without compensation, has led to accusations of biopiracy.[16]

It can be dangerous if consumed orally.[15] It can be extremely toxic, and is cited (under its synonym Vinca rosea) in Louisiana State Act 159.

As an ornamental plant, it is appreciated for its hardiness in dry and nutritionally deficient conditions, popular in subtropical gardens where temperatures never fall below 5 °C to 7 °C, and as a warm-season bedding plant in temperate gardens. It is noted for its long flowering period, throughout the year in tropical conditions, and from spring to late autumn, in warm temperate climates. Full sun and well-drained soil are preferred. Numerous cultivars have been selected, for variation in flower colour (white, mauve, peach, scarlet and reddish-orange), and also for tolerance of cooler growing conditions in temperate regions. Notable cultivars include 'Albus' (white flowers), 'Grape Cooler' (rose-pink; cool-tolerant), the Ocellatus Group (various colours), and 'Peppermint Cooler' (white with a red centre; cool-tolerant).[11]

C. roseus is used in plant pathology as an experimental host for phytoplasmas.[17] This is because it is easy to infect with a large majority of phytoplasmas, and also often has very distinctive symptoms such as phyllody and significantly reduced leaf size.[18]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Rosinidin is an anthocyanidin pigment found in the flowers of C. roseus.[19]

Other names[edit]

C. roseus is known as "Noyon Tora"(Assamese:নয়নতৰা)in Assamese,"noyontara" (Bengali: নয়নতারা) in Bengali, sadaphuli (Marathi: सदाफुली) in Marathi, boa-noite ("good night") and maria-sem-vergonha ("shameless maria", name shared with Impatiens and Thunbergia alata) in Portuguese (American), vinca-de-madagáscar, vinca-de-gato ("cats' vinca"), vinca-branca (white vinca), vinca or boa-noite in Portuguese (European), vinca del Cabo, vinca rosa ("pink vinca") or vinca rosada ("roseous vinca") in Spanish, putica ("little whore") in Venezuela and nityhakalyani in Tamil (Tamil: நித்யகல்யாணி பூ).

Photos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flora of Madagascar: Catharanthus roseus
  2. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Catharanthus roseus
  3. ^ Steenis ex Bakhuizen f., Blumea 6: 384. 1950.
  4. ^ G.Don, Gen. Hist. 4(1): 95. 1837.
  5. ^ G.Don Gen. Hist. 4(1): 95. 1837.
  6. ^ Markgr., Adansonia, ser. 2. 12: 222. 1972.
  7. ^ Woodson, N. Amer. Fl. 29: 124. 1938.
  8. ^ Bakh. f.Blumea 6 (2): 384. 1950.
  9. ^ Markgr. Adansonia, ser. 2. 12: 222. 1972.
  10. ^ Steenis Trop. Nat. 25: 18. 1936.
  11. ^ a b c Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  12. ^ a b Flora of China: Catharanthus roseus
  13. ^ College of Micronesia: Catharanthus roseus
  14. ^ Jepson Flora: Catharanthus roseus
  15. ^ a b c DrugDigest: Catharanthus roseus
  16. ^ Karasov, C. (2001). "Who Reaps the Benefits of Biodiversity?". Environmental Health Perspectives (Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, No. 12) 109 (12): A582–A587. doi:10.2307/3454734. JSTOR 3454734. PMC 1240518. PMID 11748021. 
  17. ^ C. Marcone, A. Ragozzino, E. Seemuller (1997). "Dodder transmission of alder yellows phytoplasma to the experimental host Catharanthus roseus (periwinkle)". Forest Pathology 27 (6): 347–350. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0329.1997.tb01449.x. 
  18. ^ Chung-Jan Chang (August 12, 1997, Rochester, NY). "Pathogenicity of Aster Yellows Phytoplasma and Spiroplasma citri on Periwinkle". 89th Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. ^ Toki K, Saito N, Irie Y, Tatsuzawa F, Shigihara A, Honda T (March 2008). "7-O-Methylated anthocyanidin glycosides from Catharanthus roseus". Phytochemistry 69 (5): 1215–9. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.11.005. PMID 18164044. 
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Notes

Common Names

French: pervenche de Madagascar. FG Creole: caca poule. Guyana: never-done, old maid, periwinkle. Surinam: jongemansliefde, jonkmans-liefde, soldatenbloem. Surinam Creole: kotomisi.

  • Austin, D.F. and G.R. Bourne. 1992. Notes on Guyana's medical ethnobotany. Economic Botany 46(3): 293-298.
  • Duke, J.A. 1985. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 677 pp. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • Luu, C. 1975. Contribution à l'étude des plantes médicinales de la Guyane Francaise. Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliqué 22(4-6): 121-141.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Comments

An extract from the root is used for the cure of blood cancer. Flowers are also used as a remedy for diabetes.
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Comments

Cultivated for medicine. Decoction of all parts is used in the treatment of malaria, skin diseases, Hodgkin's disease, diarrhea, hypertension, and diabetes.
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References and More Information

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Synonyms

Lochnera rosea (L.) Rchb.

  • Austin, D.F. and G.R. Bourne. 1992. Notes on Guyana's medical ethnobotany. Economic Botany 46(3): 293-298.
  • Duke, J.A. 1985. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 677 pp. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • Luu, C. 1975. Contribution à l'étude des plantes médicinales de la Guyane Francaise. Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliqué 22(4-6): 121-141.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
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