Bill Johnson

Common Periwinkle

Vinca minor L.
Dogbane family (Apocynaceae)

Origin: Europe

Common periwinkle was first introduced into North America in the 1700s as an ornamental. It is still commonly sold as an ornamental ground cover.

Distribution and Habitat
Periwinkle has escaped cultivation and is invading natural areas throughout the eastern U.S. It inhabits open to shady sites including forests and often escapes from old homesites.

Ecological Threat
Periwinkle grows vigorously and forms dense and extensive mats along the forest floor, displacing native herbaceous and woody plant species.

Description and Biology

Prevention and Control
Periwinkle can be pulled by hand, dug up or raked up, being sure to remove underground portions. Where appropriate, mowing can be used to cut plants back but will likely have to be repeated regularly. Mowing followed soon after by application of a systemic herbicide would improve control greatly (see Control Options).


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Last updated:11-Nov-2010