SCIENTIFIC NAME: Vinca
COMMON NAME(S): Periwinkle
FAMILY: APOCYNACEAE - Dogbane family
ORIGIN: Europe and western Asia, 6 spp.
HABITAT: Cultivated landscapes, sparingly naturalized
CHARACTERISTICS: Stems prostrate or arching, exude milky sap
LEAVES: Opposite, oval-shaped
FLOWERS: Showy, purple-blue or white, funnel-shaped, borne solitary in the leaf axils
FLOWERING SEASON: Late spring to fall
FRUITS: Capsule-like, rare in cultivation
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Various alkaloids
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: The species V. major L. and V. minor L. are widely used in gardens as groundcovers and have been held responsible for cases of contact dermatitis. V. rosea L., the Madagascar periwinkle, is now classified as Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don and is an important source of a drug that is used to treat leukemia..