The Madagascar Rosy Periwinkle
The Rosy Periwinkle better known as the"Madagascar Rosy Periwinkle" has pink or white petals with a purple eye in the center of the flower. The plant has glossy, dark green oval shaped leaves which are 1-2 inches long. The plant grows 32 inches high when fully matured. The Rosy Periwinkle has a tendency to thrive in full sun and tolerate dry soils, but do poorly on wet sites. They do best in evenly moist soils of a typical annual garden. Their tropical ancestry dictates a need for warmth. Tropical and subtropical regions with a soil pH of between 5.6 to 7.8 is the plants preference.
The plant itself is mainly reproduced by seeds, although it can be reproduced by rooted cuttings. Flowers are visited by a variety of insects, including butterflies, bees, and beetles. But, only butterflies are likely to be the pollinators, because the structure of the flower requires a long-tongued insect for pollination.
In the 1950's it was found that the Madagascar Periwinkle appeared to have healing properties. Research of the plant uncovered two anti-cancer alkaloids. The compounds vincristine and vinblastine were discovered. These two compounds were found to be capable of inhibiting the growth of tumors in the human body. The vincristine alkaloid was found to be helpful in the fight against childhood leukemia. The vinblastine was found to be effective in the fight against testicular cancer and Hodgkin's disease. It has also been found that other alkaloids from the plant help with stablilizing blood sugar levels and helps lower blood pressure.
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