Periwinkle, large and small

Vinca minor, Vinca major

Periwinkle, large and small

Family: Apocynaceae

Other Common Names: Lesser periwinkle, dwarf periwinkle, creeping myrtle
Weed class: monitor list
Year Listed: 2012
Native to: Europe
Is this Weed Toxic?:

not known to be

Why Is It a Noxious Weed?

This plant is on the monitor list - it is not a listed noxious weed in Washington. Please contact its sponsor State Weed Board at to report locations of where plants are found growing outside of ornamental plantings.

How would I identify it?

General Description

Periwinkle is a trailing, evergreen groundcover with dark green opposite leaves.

Flower Description

5 broad, bright blue-purple petals whirl out from a lighter center. Occasionally flowers have no pigment and are all white. These flowers are smaller than large periwinkle flowers, as at their largest, they only get to just over an inch wide

Leaf description

Stereotypically shaped leaves that are deep green, though are occasionally varigated with a much ligheter outside third. The edges are very lightly hairy.

Stem description

Long, thin, vine-like stems can spread across a wide area

Fruit Seed Description

Long ovals with a deep, darker curling fissure running down one side

Where does it grow?

It does better in partial shade, though can survive in full sun or full sun. It can easily escape garden and ornamental plantings

How Does it Reproduce?

Seed and vegetatively

How Do I Control It?

Plants can be pulled from moist soil. Cutting or mowing, followed by raking up the vines can help keep periwinkle vines from spreading. 1 to 2 percent solution of tryclopyr or glyphosate can be applied to new growth, or to fresh growth after being cut. 

For More Information

WTU image database information Vinca minor webpage on Vinca minor

Whatcom County NWCB Fact Sheet on periwinkle

California Invasive Plant Council information on Vinca major

WTU image database information Vinca major

Plant Right webpage on Vinca major

Additional Photos