Periwinkles are available in many different colours and I find it difficult to resist the urge to buy them to add to my collection. I buy the seedlings from nurseries as vinca seeds are not readily available here. My plants have self seeded and now these are my second generation offsprings. I have collected the seeds and scattered them on the ground.
Chinese name: 长春花 (Zhǎngchūn huā - long lasting spring flower)
Malay name: Kamunting Cina, Bunga Tapak Dara
Native to: Madagascar
Some offspring look like the original parent while others come in new mixed shades. The first 3 are the original colours.
There are many emails circulating about them being poisonous plants to avoid. However, they are poisonous only when ingested but nobody would eat their leaves, flowers or other plant parts anyway.
The vinca plant is used medically as a source of vincristine in the treatment of leukaemia.
“Caterpillars and Periwinkles”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on October 8th, 2010.
This offspring seem to have a mixed parentage of pink, white and lavender. I love the red and pink hues around the centre which makes it look like a kaleidoscope heart.
I think the centre of the vinca flowers look like a button. Sometimes, I see a mouth with lips pursed into an 'O' shape.
With proper pruning, the vinca plants can live 1-2 years before they die off.
On certain mornings, I get a surprise when I water my plants. I'm sure you know who did it!
Of course it is this guy who look like an oleander moth caterpillar. They are voracious eaters and a few of them can gobble up all the leaves before you can call it a day. This little fella flashed its faked monster eyes trying to scare me when I was photographing it. Aha, I not scared!
I often think about the butterflies or moths that they will soon turn into, so I spare them. Monsters turning into angels or destructive bugs transforming into beneficial beauties? Should I interrupt an innocent life cycle?
From experience, I know that the leaves will soon grow back. I used to remove the caterpillars or make them disappear. If I try to pull them out, they will cling more tightly to the branch, thereby increasing the chances of injury. I let them glide slowly onto a plucked vinca leave and I bring them to my 'birthing centre'.
This vinca with lavender-purple flowers is the most hardy type in my garden. It can survive frequent attacks by a few caterpillars and it will grow back its leaves. I use this plant as food for the caterpillars.
When I see signs of stem blight, I will pinched off the infected stems. I also trim off the wayward branches. The stem of this plant has grown to about almost an inch thick.
This is vinca perennial (vinca minor). It behaves like a weed here and we can commonly find them growing by the roadside. Somebody even laughed at me for growing this in my garden.
It is funny how a plant that is toxic to humans can be nourishing food for these creepy crawlies who after feasting on their leaves will morph into gorgeous butterflies that will help us pollinate our flowers to produce delicious fruits to satisfy many a hungry stomach. That's the beauty of nature.
My Nice Garden would like to welcome Gesine of Seepferd's Garten blog. Gesine is from Germany and a newbie blotanist. Gesine, welcome to Blotanical and thank you very much to Gesine for being my 200th follower.
This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday, the link is here.
This is also my entry for Blooming Friday, the link is here. The theme today is "USED". Well, my periwinkle is certainly "USED" when all the leaves have been eaten by the caterpillars!