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Common name:Madagascar periwinkle
Scientific name:Catharanthus roseus
Alternative common names:
It is an ever green shrub or herbaceous plant growing to 1m tall. The flowers are white to dark pink with a darker red centre. It is a listed NEMBA Category 1b species and invades riverbanks, waste places in dry savanna and also plantations.
Where does this species come from?Madagascar
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Catergory 1b.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng Provinces.
How does it spread?It invades riverbanks, waste places in dry savanna and also plantations.
Why is it a problem?Competes with indigenous species and it is poisonous.
What does it look like?Leaves: The leaves are oval to oblong, 2.5-9cm long and 13.5cm broad, glossy green, hairless, with a pale midrib and a short petiole 1-1,8cm long; they are arranged in opposite pairs. Flowers: The flowers are white to dark pink with a darker red center, with a basal tube 2.5-3cm long and a corolla 2-5cm diameter with five petal-like lobes. Fruit/seeds: The fruit is a pair of follicles 2-4cm long and 3mm broad.
Does the plant have any uses?Garden ornamental and medicinal purposes.