big periwinkle
Vinca major L.


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.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Vinca
Subject: Vinca major L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
bigleaf periwinkle, large periwinkle, greater periwinkle, periwinkle


Plants - Vines