Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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Lauramay T. Dempster

Perennial (sometimes annual, shrub, vine, tree); sap milky
Leaves simple, entire, opposite, alternate, or subwhorled; stipules 0 or small
Inflorescence: cyme; flowers 1–many, axillary or terminal
Flower bisexual, radial; perianth parts overlapping, at least in bud; sepals 5, fused at base, persistent; petals 5, fused in ± basal half; stamens 5, attached to corolla tube or throat, alternate lobes; ovaries 2, ± superior, generally free, styles and stigmas fused
Fruit: generally 2 follicles
Seeds many, often with tuft of silky hairs
Genera in family: ± 150–200 genera, 1000–2000 species: especially tropical; many ornamental (Nerium, oleander; Plumeria , frangipani); some alkaloids highly toxic, some used in medicine
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Asclepiadaceae
Reference: [Rosatti 1989 J Arnold Arbor 70:307–401]


Plant ± puberulent
Leaves ± opposite
Inflorescence: flowers generally solitary in axils
Flower: calyx lobes long, slender; corolla pink, tube ± cylindric, lobes asymmetric; stamens attached near top of corolla tube, filaments ± straight, anthers held above, free from stigma, each completely fertile; nectaries 2, alternate and generally > ovaries; style thread-like, stigma skirted at base
Seed glabrous
Species in genus: 3–7 species: Madagascar, India
Etymology: (Greek: pure flower)
[Taylor & Farnsworth 1975 The Catharanthus alkaloids]


C. roseus (L.) G. Don


Stem erect, 30–60 cm
Leaf: petiole generally < 1 cm; blade ± elliptic
Flower: corolla 3–5 cm wide, pink
Fruit ± straight
Ecology: Desert spring
Elevation: 160 m.
Bioregional distribution: Sonoran Desert (Borrego Springs, San Diego Co.)
Distribution outside California: native to Madagascar
Synonyms: Vinca rosea L
Widely cultivated, naturalized in warm temp to tropical regions. Alkaloids used to treat childhood leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, other cancers.

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bioregional map for CATHARANTHUS%20roseus being generated
YOU CAN HELP US make sure that our distributional information is correct and current. If you know that a plant occurs in a wild, reproducing state in a Jepson bioregion NOT highlighted on the map, please contact us with that information. Please realize that we cannot incorporate range extensions without access to a voucher specimen, which should (ultimately) be deposited in an herbarium. You can send the pressed, dried collection (with complete locality information indicated) to us (e-mail us for details) or refer us to an accessioned herbarium specimen. Non-occurrence of a plant in an indicated area is difficult to document, but we will especially value your input on those types of possible errors (see automatic conversion of distribution data to maps).

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Catharanthus roseus
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