common periwinkle

Gentianales > Apocynaceae > Vinca minor L.
Synonym(s): lesser periwinkle, myrtle

Common periwinkle, a common invader throughout most of the United States, is an evergreen to semi-evergreen, trailing vine that reaches up to 6.6 ft. (2 m) in length. Vines can reach a height of 6 in. (15.2 cm). The stems are slender, somewhat woody, and green in color. The opposite, glossy leaves are approximately 1 in. (2.5 cm) long and narrowly elliptical in shape. Some varieties have variegated leaf colors. Flowers are violet to blue (possibly white) in color, 1 in. (2.5 cm) wide, 5-petaled and develop in the spring. Common periwinkle invades open to shady forests often around former plantings at old homesites. It forms dense and extensive mats along forest floors that exclude native vegetation. It is native to Europe and 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

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection
  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Plant(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Calyx
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
Richard Old, XID Services, Inc., Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
Jil M. Swearingen, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Diagram or Graphic; Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 20.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia