Madagascar periwinkle was initially named Vinca rosea L. The synonym Pervinca rosea (L.) Moench was published in 1794. Pervinca is a synonym of Vinca; the first species described within Pervinca were species previously and currently placed within Vinca. It eventually became clear that Linnaeus’ circumscription of Vinca had been too broad: the Madagascar periwinkle and its immediate relatives were distinct from the Vinca periwinkles and should be separated into a different genus. Upon the publication of Catharanthus for that purpose (in 1837), the correct name of the species became Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. Following that date, two other authors also described new genera to include C. roseus, creating the synonyms Lochnera rosea (L.) Rchb. ex Endl. and Ammocallis rosea (L.) Small. Because the name C. roseus is older, it has priority over these names.
van Bergen, M. A. 1996. Revision of Catharanthus G. Don. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLI. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96-3: 9-46.
Image of the original publication of Vinca rosea
Image of the original publication of Catharanthus roseus
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