Vinca major flower. Photo Credit: Barry Rice, sarracenia.com, Bugwood.org
Vinca major infestation. Photo Credit: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
Vinca minor leaves. Photo Credit: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Vinca minor. Photo Credit: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Also known as:
- Common vinca: periwinkle, common periwinkle, small periwinkle, myrtle, creeping myrtle
- Bigleaf vinca: large periwinkle, big periwinkle, bigleaf periwinkle, blue periwinkle
Both common and bigleaf vinca are trailing, evergreen perennials. They produce eye-catching purple-blue flowers leading to them being the highlight of local gardens. Once outside garden beds, they can become a nuisance in forests, forming extensive mats that don’t allow other plants to grow.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||No|
|Height:||Common vinca: Can grow up to 15 inches high (40 centimeters)|
Bigleaf vinca: Can grow up to 35 inches high (90 centimeters)
|Leaf Description:||Both species produce glossy, dark green leaves that have a leathery texture and are evergreen. Common vinca’s leaves are smaller and lance-shaped whereas bigleaf vinca’s leaves are broader and somewhat heart-shaped.|
|Fruit & Flower Description:||Flowers are solitary, meaning a single flower grows at the end of single stem. Flowers are a showy purple-blue and have five pinwheel-like petals. Common vinca’s flowers are approximately half the size of bigleaf vinca’s flowers.|
|Bloom Time:||Summer through Fall|
- Both species are frequently found in shaded forests, gardens, and along roadsides.
- They thrive in areas with well-drained, moist soils and partial sun. But they can grow in full shade and poor soils.
- Once established, both species develop into a dense ground cover that outcompetes other vegetation in natural areas.
- They spread from trailing stems and root fragments. This allows them to spread outside gardens if not properly cared for.
What you can do about it:
- Both vinca species are often planted in gardens as an ornamental groundcover. If you are planning on including them in your garden, please make sure keep them pruned to stop them from spreading into natural areas.
- In natural areas, hand pulling can be effective. Pay careful attention to removing all stems and roots. They are deep-rooted so extra effort may be needed to dig them out.
- Because these species can resprout from stem fragments, mowing is generally not recommended.
Noxious Weed Listing:
|State of Oregon:||Not Listed|
|State of Washington:||Not Listed|
- University of California, Weed Research & Information Center: Big periwinkle