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common periwinkle

Vinca minor L.

USDA PLANTS Symbol: VIMI2
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Vine


Synonym(s): lesser periwinkle, myrtle

Appearance
Vinca minor is a vine-like erect or trailing groundcover; mostly evergreen; stems slender.
Foliage
Leaves are opposite, dark green, glossy, oval to lance-shaped, thick-textured; may be variegated.
Flowers
Flowers are blue, lavender or white, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) across, five petals blunt at tip, arranged in spiral; blooms in springtime.
Fruit
No fruits or seeds typically. Spreads vegetatively through rhizomes.
Ecological Threat
Vinca minor has escaped cultivation and is invading natural areas throughout the eastern U.S. It inhabits open to shady sites including forests and often escapes from old homesites. Vinca minor grows vigorously and forms dense and extensive mats along the forest floor, displacing native herbaceous and woody plant species. Vinca minor was first introduced into North America in the 1700s as an ornamental. It is still commonly sold as an ornamental ground cover.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service