Catharanthus lanceus grows as perennial herb up to 1 metre (3 ft) tall. Its fragrant flowers feature white or cream corolla lobes turning pink, reddish-violet or pink-magenta. Vernacular names for the plant include "lance-leaf periwinkle". Habitats are on volcanic or burned soil, hillside rocks and in open woodland on ridges. C. lanceus is found from 750 metres (2,460 ft) to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) altitude. The plant is used in local medicinal treatments for toothache, fever and skin diseases, and also as a diuretic. C. lanceus is native to Madagascar.