big periwinkle

Vinca major L.

U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Vine

Synonym(s): bigleaf periwinkle, large periwinkle, greater periwinkle, periwinkle

Evergreen to semievergreen vines, some-what woody, trailing or scrambling to 3 ft. (1 m) long and upright to 1 ft. (30 cm).
Foliage is opposite, glossy and hairless, some-what thick, with margins slightly rolled under. Leaves are heart-shaped to somewhat triangular to elliptic, 1.5-2.5 in. (4-6 cm) long and 1-1.5 in. (2.5-4 cm) wide, with petioles 0.2-0.4 in. (5-10 mm) long.
Violet to blue lavender (to white), with five petals radiating pinwheel-like at right angles from the floral tube. Flowers from 1.5-2 in. (4-5 cm) wide with a 0.6-0.8 in. (1.5-2 cm) long tube. Five sepals long lanceo-late, about 0.4 in. (1 cm), hairy margined. Blooms April to May, then sporadically to September.
Slender, cylindrical fruit up to 2 in. (5 cm) long. Splitting when dry to release three to five seeds.
Ecological Threat
Found around old homesites and scattered in open to dense canopied forests. Forms mats and extensive infestations even under forest canopies by vines rooting at nodes. Introduced from Europe in 1700s. Ornamental ground cover, commonly sold and planted by gardeners.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy