Vinca major

Vinca major_big periwinkle_JM DiTomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Vinca pubescenes, Vinca major var.variegata

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

Vinca major (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. 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?

CDFA Rating: None?


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.

Species ID Card

Invasive Species ID Card - To support field identification of early detection species, Cal-IPC has designed a set of Species ID cards that can be downloaded, printed double-sided, and trimmed to size.

Weed 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

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Vinca major Information

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

    Vinca major_flower (side view) and stem_AmadejTrnkoczy
    Vinca major (periwinkle) flower (side view) and stem. Photo: Amadej Trnkoczy
    Vinca major_flower and leaves_copyright2007_NealKramer
    Vinca major (periwinkle) flower and leaves. Photo: © 2007 Neal Kramer
    Vinca major_growth habit_copyright2007_NealKramer
    Vinca major (periwinkle) growth habit. Photo: © 2007 Neal Kramer