Catharanthus trichophyllus (Baker) Pichon
Lochnera trichophylla, Vinca trichophylla
Color: White, pink, red, or purple, with yellowish centers
Bloom Time: From summer to frost
Catharanthus trichophyllus is a perennial herb that grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall. It contains white latex. The stems and branches are reddish or purplish, squared, and winged. The oppositely arranged leaves have hairy, pointed, oval, up to 3.4 inches (8.5 cm) long blades. They are each accompanied by several stipules. Flowers occur singly or in pairs in the leaf axils. The calyx is up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long and has five long, narrow lobes. The corolla has a tubular, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long throat opening into five lobes, each up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) long. The flowers may be white, pink, red, or purple, with yellowish centers. They have an unpleasant scent. Fruits are pairs of greenish or purplish, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long follicles. Each contains 10 to 20 seeds.
How to Grow and Care
Madagascar Periwinkle is native to Madagascar but is cultivated and naturalized in most of the tropical world and warmer climates in the United States. It can be found in various woodland, forest, and grassland locales, but one of its primary uses is a bedding plant in highway medians or commercial landscapes. Madagascar Periwinkle also makes a striking clumping plant for home gardens as ground cover, in beddings or edgings, or containers.
Unlike many other plants, Madagascar Periwinkle is best suited for poor, well-drained soil and may even fail to thrive in soils that are too fertile. These plants need regular moisture but don't do well with overhead watering. Madagascar Periwinkle is easily propagated with semi-ripe cuttings planted in light compost with bottom heat and high humidity or by seeds kept in the dark at 71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 25 degrees Celsius) until germination. The leaves may curl during the heat of the day but recover with evening dew. The flowers drop off after blooming and don't require deadheading.
This species is endemic to Madagascar, where it is most common in northern regions.
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