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Periwinkle

Vinca Minor Linnaeus
Synonym: myrtle
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Commodities Affected:
Forestry and Natural Areas

 

Threat:

Common periwinkle is a vine or sub-shrub that is native to Europe and was introduced for ornamental purposes many decades ago. It occurs throughout the United States in at least 36 states, has escaped cultivation and is invading natural areas. Common periwinkle poses a threat to native plants and communities because it grows vigorously, forming a dense monotypic evergreen groundcover that displaces and excludes most other plants, including native wildflowers. It spreads by vegetative means only. Flower color can be blue, lilac or white. Several close relatives of this plant, including big leaf periwinkle, imported from Europe, and Madagascar periwinkle, native only to Madagascar, are also invasive in natural areas in the mid-Atlantic and other regions of the United States and the world. Note:  Plant with caution – only next to concrete or lawns, and do not allow to climb

 

Distribution:

In 100 Years of Change in the Distribution of Common Indiana Weeds by William and Edith Overlease (2002) reported that periwinkle was recorded in Indiana in 1899 (Coulter’s Catalogue of Indiana Plants) in Hamilton, Marion, and Montgomery counties.  Coulter noted that “it largely escaped from cultivation, especially in southern parts of the state.  Large areas are frequently entirely taken over by this species.” In 1940, (Deam’s Flora) recorded finding periwinkle in Lawrence county. Dean noted that “periwinkle spreads rapidly in some localities.  The largest colony known to me is in Spring Mill State Park.”  In 2002, Overlease noted that periwinkle “is especially common around old cemeteries.”   Periwinkle is found in all 92 counties in Indiana.