Vinca major

Vinca major_big periwinkle_JM DiTomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Vinca pubescenes, Vinca major var.variegata

Common names: periwinkle; bigleaf periwinkle; greater periwinkle; blue periwinkle; myrtle

Vinca major (big periwinkle) is a spreading perennial vine or ground cover (family Apocynaceae) with dark green stems that contain milky latex. In California it is rapidly spreading in most coastal counties, foothill woodlands, the Central Valley, and even desert areas. Big periwinkle has escaped from garden plantings, and lowers species diversity and disrupts native plant communities. Riparian zones are particularly sensitive. Fragments of periwinkle vines can break, wash downstream, and start new invasions.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Assessment

Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed RIC Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

  • Owen, K. and K. McEachern (2010). Herbicide treatment techniques of Vinca major growing with endangered Galium buxifolium, an island endemic. Cal-IPC 2010 Symposium. Ventura, CA, California Invasive Plant Council
  • Burns, C. and S. Adams (2007). Trials on chemical control of periwinkle (Vinca major) and Cape ivy (Delairea odorata). California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2007. San Diego, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
  • Bossard, C., K. Moore, et al. (2005). A test of repeat flaming as a control for poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), Cape ivy (Delairia odorata), and periwinkle (Vinca major). California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Dempsey, J. and W. Elliott (2005). Invasive plant control at California State Parks in the northern Sacramento Valley. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Connick, S. and M. Gerel (2004). Partnering to prevent invasions of plants of horticultural origin. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
  • Knapp, J. (2004). A gardener’s dream, a land manager’s nightmare: The spread of horticultural invasive plants into the wildlands of Santa Catalina Island. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
  • Dudley, T. (2003). Riparian invaders: A multi-species approach. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • Pickart, A. (2003). A decade of dune restoration at the Lanphere Dunes. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • Carrithers, V. F. (1997). Using Transline* herbicide to control invasive plants. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '97. Concord, CA.
  • Wright, R. (1996). Preliminary results from a Vinca major removal experiment. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '96. San Diego, CA.

Other Vinca major Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - See the distribution of this species on Calflora's map of California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution information with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.
  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.