Photos of Catharanthus roseus, Vinca rosea, Madagascar Periwinkle, Rose Periwinkle.

Such a fascinating history of human interaction with Madagascar Periwinkle, a tropical perennial commonly grown as an ornamental annual. Within 50 years of its discovery in Madagascar in 1757 (now extinct in the wild), Madagascar Periwinkle seeds hitched a ride with European explorers and spread throughout the world's tropics. It was locally adopted as a medicinal plant often associated with antidiabetic folk use. Since the early 1960s, tens of thousands of cancer patients, especially with leukemia or lymphomas, have benefited from the toxic chemotherapeutic anti-cancer agents derived from this plant, vincristine and vinblastine.

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