Katarantus – a guest from Africa
Katarantus (lochner, pink periwinkle, rose vinca) is an ornamental shrub from the kutrovy family. The well-known cultivated plants oleander and periwinkle also belong to this family. The vast majority of species of this family (and there are about 2000 of 200 genera) are concentrated in tropical countries of both hemispheres. The homeland of the catharanthus is tropical Africa. Among kutrovye there are many ornamental plants with beautiful, often fragrant flowers, but they are all cultivated within the tropics. Many species are of significant economic importance in the tropics: some were introduced into cultivation for the sake of edible fruits, others for the production of natural rubber, the manufacture of coarse fabrics, fishing tackle, and ropes.
Medicinal properties of catharanthus
They are also used for the manufacture of medicines, as they are rich in alkaloids and other substances. For example, drugs such as reserpine and raunatin are derived from the poisonous rauwolfia serpentine; from the seeds of African strophanth, poisonous glycosite stofantin is obtained, which is part of drugs that support cardiac activity. The Indians impregnated their deadly arrows with strophanth poison. It is used for diseases of the heart muscles, the glycosides contained in oleander leaves (all parts of this plant are poisonous).
Catharanthus is also used in tropical countries as a medicinal plant. It is used to prepare drugs Vinblastine and Vincristine, which are used in oncology.
All medicinal substances are isolated from these plants in a special way only at pharmaceutical enterprises.
The independent use of kutrovy, including catharanthus, is not recommended, as it can lead to dangerous consequences as a result of poisoning. Many kutrovye are poisonous, including such a plant as catharanthus.
Caring for the catharanthus
Florists often ask the question: how to grow a catharanthus, is it probably difficult to take care of it at home?
This attractive potted plant blooms profusely and continuously almost all year round. Its flowers are up5 cmin diameter, they are pink and white with a bright core and are very similar to the flowers of the familiar balsam. Do the following for your catharanthus:
- cultivation is possible only in a warm (20-22 ° C) and bright place;
- water evenly, do not overmoisten the earth coma;
- you will have to transfer it into a more convenient container if the lower leaves begin to turn yellow, and the roots crawl out of the bottom hole;
- the soil mixture for the catharanthus consists of clay-sod land, humus and sand (4: 2: 1);
- the course consists in feeding 1 time per month (in summer) with full mineral fertilizer;
- pinch young shoots to form a lush bush;
- cut old bushes in February before starting to grow by 8-10 cmfrom the base of the stem. This will rejuvenate the plant and encourage new shoot growth.
How to propagate it
Reproduction of catharanthus is possible with young apical shoots 3-5 cmwith 2-3 nodes. For propagation, do not take too tender, herbaceous cuttings – they can rot. For rooting, use humus, sand, perlite, vermiculite. Cuttings root at a temperature of 24-25 ° C in a warm, humid, well-lit place, covered with glass or foil. After rooting, young plants are planted in small pots. Growing and caring for them is the same as for adult plants.