Eternal Beauty of Nature

Posts tagged “Family: Apocynaceae (oleander family)

Tagar – White beauties – Ajaytao

Tagar - White beauties - Ajaytao

Tagar – White beauties – Ajaytao

Life is better when you stop picking flowers
and start trusting your life’s course to come across
other beautiful meadows in the future

Alex Kennedy


Rosy Periwinkle – Ajaytao

Rosy Periwinkle - Ajaytao

Rosy Periwinkle – Ajaytao

Little white flower
In field of green blades sitting
Moon passes over


Catharanthus roseus – Periwinkle – Ajaytao


Catharanthus roseus - Periwinkle - Ajaytao

Catharanthus roseus – Periwinkle – Ajaytao

Common name: Periwinkle, Madagascar rosy periwinkle, Vinca, Cape periwinkle, Rose periwinkle, Rosy periwinkle, Old-maid, Boa-noite (“good night”) and Maria-sem-vergonha (“Shameless Maria”, name shared with Impatiens and Thunbergia alata) in Portuguese (American), Vinca-de-madagáscar, Vinca-de-gato (“cats’ vinca”), Vinca-branca (white vinca), Vinca or boa-noite in Portuguese (European), Vinca del Cabo, Vinca rosa (“pink vinca”) or Vinca rosada (“roseous vinca”) in Spanish, putica (“little whore”) in Venezuela.

Hindi: Sadabahar सदाबहार • Malayalam: Shavam Naari • Marathi: सदाफूली Sadaphuli • Bengali: নযনতাৰা Nayantara

Botanical name: Catharanthus roseus
Family: Apocynaceae (oleander family)
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Catharanthus
Species: C. roseus

Synonyms: Vinca rosea, Lochnera rosea, Ammocallis rosea

Catharanthus roseus is an evergreen subshrub or herbaceous plant. Catharanthus roseus is a fleshy perennial growing to 32 in (80 cm) high. It has glossy, dark green, oval leaves (1-2 inches long) and flowers all summer long. The blooms of the natural wild plants are a pale pink with a purple “eye” in their centers.

Catharanthus roseus - Periwinkle - Ajaytao

Catharanthus roseus – Periwinkle – Ajaytao

Erect or decumbent suffrutex, to 1 m, usually with white latex. Stems green, often suffused with purple or red. Leaves decussate, petiolate; lamina variable, elliptic, obovate or narrowly obovate; apex mucronate. Flowers 4-5 cm, showy, white or pink, with a purple, red, pale yellow or white centre. Follicle 1.2-3.8 × 0.2-0.3 cm, dehiscent on the adaxial side. Seeds 1-2 mm, numerous, grooved on one side.

In the wild, it is an endangered plant; the main cause of decline is habitat destruction by slash and burn agriculture. It is also however widely cultivated and is naturalised in subtropical and tropical areas of the world.

Periwinkle is a happy-go-lucky small shrub. It cares not for the world. It rejoices in sun or rain, or the seaside, in good or indifferent soil and often grows wild. It is known as ‘Sadabahar’ meaning ‘always in bloom’ and is used for worship. Numerous soft-wood branches from the ground, give it an appearance of fullness. Closely planted it can have an impressive effect with its various colours. This is one flower which can be found all over India. Lots of cultivars have been developed with various colors, from red to white, Apricot Cooler Improved, Aztec Pink Magic, Blue Pearl, Cooler Icy Pink, Cooler Orchid, Cooler Peppermint, Experimental Dee

Catharanthus roseus is native to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. This herb is now common in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, including the southern United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands.

As an ornamental plant, it is appreciated for its hardiness in dry and nutritionally deficient conditions, popular in subtropical gardens where temperatures never fall below 5 °C to 7 °C, and as a warm-season bedding plant in temperate gardens. It is noted for its long flowering period, throughout the year in tropical conditions, and from spring to late autumn, in warm temperate climates. Full sun and well-drained soil are preferred. Numerous cultivars have been selected, for variation in flower colour (white, mauve, peach, scarlet and reddish-orange), and also for tolerance of cooler growing conditions in temperate regions. Notable cultivars include ‘Albus’ (white flowers), ‘Grape Cooler’ (rose-pink; cool-tolerant), the Ocellatus Group (various colours), and ‘Peppermint Cooler’ (white with a red centre; cool-tolerant).

Catharanthus roseus - Periwinkle - Ajaytao

Catharanthus roseus – Periwinkle – Ajaytao

Medicinal uses:

Long before modern researcher learned of the plant’s valuable and varied properties, people in faraway places were using the Madagascar periwinkle for a host of medicinal purposes.

In India, they treated wasp sting with the juice from the leaves.In Hawai’i they prescribed an extract of the boiled plant to arrest bleeding.

In Central America and parts of South America, they made a gargle to ease soar throats and chest ailments and laryngitis.

In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other islands, an extract of the flower was commonly administered as an eyewash for the eyes of infants.

In Africa, leaves are used for menorrhagia and rheumatism.

Surinamese boil ten leaves and ten flowers together for diabetes.

Bahamians take flower decoction for asthma and flatulence, and the entire plant for tuberculosis.

In Mauritius, the leaves infusion s given for dyspepsia and indigestion.

In Vietnam it is taken for diabetes and malaria.

Curacao and Bermuda natives take the plant for high blood pressure.

Indochinese use the stalks and leaves for dysmenorrhea.

The species has long been cultivated for herbal medicine and as an ornamental plant. In Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) the extracts of its roots and shoots, though poisonous, is used against several diseases. In traditional Chinese medicine, extracts from it have been used against numerous diseases, including diabetes, malaria, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The substances vinblastine and vincristine extracted from the plant are used in the treatment of leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

This conflict between historical indigenous use, and recent patents on C.roseus-derived drugs by western pharmaceutical companies, without compensation, has led to accusations of biopiracy.

Researchers investigating its medicinal properties discovered that it contained a group of alkaloids that, though extremely toxic, had potential uses in cancer treatment. Two of these alkaloids, vincristine and vinblastine, can be used in purified form to treat common types of leukemia and lymphoma. The discovery of vincristine is credited with raising the survival rate of childhood leukemia from under 10% to over 90%. Thousands of children’s lives have therefore been saved by an extract of this humble garden plant.

Catharanthus roseus - Periwinkle - Ajaytao

Catharanthus roseus – Periwinkle – Ajaytao

Scientific Research:

Few plants have generated as much recent interest among scientist and medical communities as the Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus .
The interest began in the mid-1950’s, when researchers, hearing of a “periwinkle tea” that was drunk in Jamaica, began to study the plant for its reported antidiabetic properties.

Extracts of entire dried plant contain many alkaloids of medicinal use. The principal alkaloid is vinblastine, or vincaleukoblastine (vinblastine sulfate), sold as Velban. The alkaloid has growth inhibition effects in certain human tumors. Vinblastine is used experimentally for treatment of neoplasms, and is recommended for generalized Hodgkin’s disease and resistant choricarcinoma. Another pharmacologically important alkaloid is vincristine sulfate or vincristine, sold as Oncovin. Vincristine is used in treatment of leukemia in children.

Using vinblastine and vincristine in combination chemotherapy has resulted in 80% remission in Hodgkin’s disease, 99% remission in acute lymphocitic leukemia, 80% remission in Wilm’s tumor, 70% remission in gestational choricarcinoma, and 50% remission in Burkitt’s lymphoma.

There are over 70 other alkaloid that have been isolated from the plant in addition to vinblastine and vincristine. Synthetic vincristine, used to treat leukemia, is only 20% as effective as the natural product derived from Catharanthus roseus. Further research is needed especially on bioactive compounds, means of preparation, and effectiveness of plants and herbal remedies.

C. roseus is used in plant pathology as an experimental host for phytoplasmas. This is because it is easy to infect with a large majority of phytoplasmas, and also often has very distinctive symptoms such as phyllody and significantly reduced leaf size.


This plant has poison characteristics.

It can be dangerous if consumed orally or inhaled. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Symptoms: Hallucinations. It can be extremely toxic, and is cited (under its synonym Vinca rosea) in Louisiana State Act 159.
Ajaytao Photography

Tabernaemontana divaricata – Crape Jasmine – Ajaytao

Tabernaemontana divaricata - Crape Jasmine - Ajaytao

Tabernaemontana divaricata – Crape Jasmine – Ajaytao

Common name: Crape jasmine, Moonbeam, Carnation of India

Botanical name: Tabernaemontana divaricata
Genus: Tabernaemontana
Species: divaricata

Hindi: Chandni चांदनी , Tagar तगर, Tagari तगरी
Gujarati: Sagar Marathi: Ananta, Tagar

Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)

Synonyms: Tabernaemontana citrifolia, Tabernaemontana coronaria,

Crape jasmine, a shrub very common in India, generally grows to a height of 6 ft. However, it can also grow into a small tree with a thin, crooked stem. Like many members of the Oleander family, stems exude a milky latex when broken. The large shiny leaves are deep green and are 6 or more inches in length and about 2 inches in width. Crape jasmine blooms in spring but flowers appear sporadically all year. The waxy blossoms are white five-petaled pinwheels that are borne in small clusters on the stem tips. This plant is a moderate grower for full to part sun, though it actually prefers partial shade and will flower there. Its ultimate height is about 8 feet tall with a 6 foot wide top.

The crape jasmine tree – with its pretty form and exquisite, sweetly-scented flowers – makes a wonderful accent anywhere in the landscape…even in part shade. Sometimes spelled “crepe jasmine” – or called “cape jasmine” – these are actually shrubs that can be used as hedges or specimen plants in bush form, but as a small ornamental tree of 8 feet or less they’re at their best.

With its ruffled-edge, white double flowers, this plant creates a big show of blossoms in spring and then blooms on and off through summer. Their fragrance is stronger by evening, making this a desirable small tree near a patio, screened lanai or pool cage.

Similar in looks (though the fragrance is different) to gardenias, crapes can be somewhat easier care – more cold-tolerant and less prone to insect invasions.

Tabernaemontana divaricata - Crape Jasmine - Ajaytao

Tabernaemontana divaricata – Crape Jasmine – Ajaytao

Evergreen with large, shiny, deep green leaves, this jasmine (though not a “true” jasmine – at one time everything with a sweet-smelling flower was called jasmine) is moderately cold hardy, doing best in Zone 10A and warmer areas of Zone 9B.

Plant care

Plant with either top soil or organic peat moss in combination with composted cow manure as soil amendments. The crape jasmine tree needs regular waterings. Trim occasionally to shape.

Flowers are commonly used in pooja (Religious ceremony) in north and south India. A jasmine tree can be placed close to the house – as near as 3 or 4 feet away. If you’re planting a row or grouping, place them 3 to 5 feet apart. Give it a spot sheltered from winter winds. Though a colder winter may defoliate the plant, it should flush back out in spring.

Blooms: Mid Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer. Blooms repeatedly.
Foliage:Evergreen, Aromatic

Crapes will grow in large containers as long as watering is regular and sufficient.

Ajaytao Photography

Mexican Oleander – Thevetia peruviana – Ajaytao

Mexican Oleander - Thevetia peruviana - Ajaytao

Mexican Oleander – Thevetia peruviana – Ajaytao

Common name: Mexican oleander, Lucky Nut, geeloleander (Afrikaans)
Hindi: Peeli kaner पीली कनेर • Bengali: Kolkaphul

Botanical name: Thevetia peruviana
Family: Apocynaceae (oleander family)
Genus: Thevetia
Species: T. peruviana
Synonyms: Thevetia neriifolia, Cascabela thevetia

Mexican oleander is a large shrub or a small tree, up to 10 to 20 feet tall with Oleander-like leaves mostly in whorls of three, long and narrow up to 10 inches long. Tip of leafs are pointed with a dark green color. Flowers are generally yellow, but there are varieties with white and orange flowers too. Fruit is small, containing two to four flat seeds. Flowers bloom from summer to fall. The long funnel-shaped sometimes-fragrant yellow (less commonly apricot, sometimes white, Coral/Apricot, Bright Yellow,Cream/Tan) flowers are in few-flowered terminal clusters. Its fruit is deep red-black in color encasing a large seed that bears some resemblance to a ‘Chinese lucky nut.’

Traditional uses have included treatment of swelling, leprosy, eye diseases, and skin disorders. Despite the danger, oleander seeds and leaves are used to make medicine. Oleander is used for heart conditions, asthma, epilepsy, cancer, painful menstrual periods, leprosy, malaria, ringworm, indigestion, and venereal disease; and to cause abortions. A fixed combination of oleander leaf powdered extract, pheasant’s eye fluid extract, lily-of-the-valley fluid extract, and squill powdered extract has been used for treating mild heart failure.Oleander has been used as an abortifacient. Oleander extracts have been used in China to treat neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

The anti-cancer effects of oleander extracts are being investigated largely in in vitro cell line models. Anvirzel (Ozelle Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), an aqueous extract of Nerium oleander, is currently being studied in phase I trials for its antitumor effects.

Mexican Oleander - Orange - Thevetia peruviana - Ajaytao

Mexican Oleander – Orange – Thevetia peruviana – Ajaytao


Thevetia peruvians is a very poisonous plant of central and southern Mexico and Central America. It is a close relative of Nerium oleander, if ingested may experience pain in the mouth and lips, may also develop vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain, nausea and bradycardia shortly after ingestion.

The term “Oleander” refers to two common plant species, Nerium oleander (common oleander) and Thevetia peruviana (yellow oleander), which grow in temperate climates throughout the world. Both species contain cardiac glycosides with digoxin-like effects, and both species are toxic with well-described reports of fatal ingestion. Recent evidence suggests that the use of activated charcoal may be beneficial in cases of oleander toxicity or overdose. Otherwise, it is often suggested to manage toxicity similarly to other cardiac glycosides such as

A known instrument of homicide, and gained popularity as an agent used in suicide attempts in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. The “cardiotonic” effects of oleander were investigated in the 1930s, but this use was largely abandoned due to significant gastrointestinal toxicity and a perceived narrow therapeutic to toxic window.

A few bird species are however known to feed on them without any ill effects. These include the Asian Koel, Red-whiskered Bulbul, White-browed Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Brahminy Myna, Common Myna and Common Grey Hornbill.

Ajaytao Photography