The Madagascar Periwinkle (Tsitsirika in our language) is quite a common plant from where I'm from.

It is an evergreen subshrub or herbaceous plant growing to 1 m tall. The leaves are oval to oblong, 2.5–9 cm long and 1–3.5 cm broad, glossy green, hairless, with a pale midrib and a short petiole 1–1.8 cm long; they are arranged in opposite pairs. The flowers are white to dark pink with a darker red centre, with a basal tube 2.5-3 cm long and a corolla 2–5 cm diameter with five petal-like lobes. The fruit is a pair of follicles 2–4 cm long and 3 mm broad.

But what blows my mind is that the drugs vincristine and vinblastine, (which we use as agents for chemotherapy in cancer patients) came from this plant!


Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said... @ July 19, 2009 at 1:49 AM

wow, that's incredible! i grow periwinkles too;-) I didn't know there were chemicals in the plant that could be used for chemo. Truly amazing to learn!

Lily said... @ November 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM

I learn something new in your blog. I work in a pharmaceutical and we manufacture Vinblastine and Vincristine. Amazing that the chemicals for these drugs comes from this plant!!!

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