APOCYNACEAE - The Periwinkle Family

This is a large Family with about 1500 species found mainly in tropical regions. It includes many of the most well-known tropical ornamental plants (Oleander, Frangipani, Allamanda, Mandevilla). Many are large trees with buttress roots found in rainforests, some are smaller, evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs or climbers from other warm areas of the world, and one or two are found in temperate regions (Vinca). The sap of most plants is a milky latex, which is often of economic importance for medicinial use, or for the production of rubber. This sap is often toxic.

Characteristics of this Plant Family:

Leaves, Stem & Roots ~ Leaves are simple and undivided, and are either opposite or in rings around the stem.

Flowers ~ There is a calyx with five parts, either separate or joined to form a tube. The flowers are in clusters and are often large and showy. They usually have five petals joined into a tube at the base. There are five stamens joined together.

Seeds ~ The seeds capsule has two parts and may be either inside the flower or not. Seeds are very variable, and may be small with a hairy tuft (Nerium) or large and woody (Allamanda).

Members of this Family usually have:

Simple leaves
Milky sap
Five part calyx
Clusters of flowers
Five large petals joined at the base
Five stamens

*** Most parts of many members of this Plant Family are POISONOUS ***
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