The pretty pink flower that has the power to heal!


Grows like a weed!

Catharanthus roseus is a plant that is said to grow like a weed! As you already know, this perennial periwinkle likes the sun but is able to live in partially shaded environments as well. Found in many home gardens around the world, the periwinkle makes a great ground cover thanks to its speedy and vine-like growth. The periwinkle's thick glossy leaves are what help aid in this ground cover. When grown in more moderate climates, the periwinkle is considered more of an annual plant due to the presence of frost. Usually, when grown in flower gardens, Catharanthus roseus is grown by seed. To learn more about how to plant your very own periwinkles, visit the National Gardening Association website.   

 To begin, the beautiful five pedaled flowers of the periwinkle are usually rosy pink to white, light reddish to even purple in color. The flowers of the Madagascar Periwinkle are often visited by a wide variety of insects including butterflies, moths, bees and even beetles. However, due to the floral structure of the Rosy Periwinkle, they require insects such as butterflies and moths that have long tongues, and serve as better pollinators for this plant.

*Photo above: Courtesy of Rik Littlefield, 2007.

Furthermore, other studies have shown that the Madagascar Periwinkle is a very unique species within its family because of its self-compatibility meaning that they are able to pollinate themselves! So which type of reproduction is correct? Typically, intraflower self-pollination does not occur due to the physical separation of the stigma; the sticky part of a flower's carpel which traps pollen grains, and the anthers; a terminal pollen sac of stamen. However, some periwinkles contain elongated ovaries or styles, thus allowing for intraflower self-pollination. But in all reality, both types of pollination occur in the Madagascar periwinkle.

*Photo above: Courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr.

Continue on to learn about the INTERACTIONS of the Madagascan Periwinkle!

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