Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Bigleaf Periwinkle (Vinca major)



Evergreen perennial groundcover with waxy green leaves and purple, five-petalled flowers.


This Eurasian ornamental has been widely planted in home gardens, where it escapes into native forests and woodlands.  It is highly shade-tolerant.  On Galiano Island, it forms a dense groundcover that spreads outward from old homesteads and gardens.


Periwinkle blankets the forest floor and smothers native species.


Small populations can be removed by carefully digging up roots; several passes will be required to removal all root fragments.  Large populations can be mowed and then smothered with an impermeable membrane for 6 months or more, until plants are dead.  Several repeated rounds of smothering and exposure may be required.  Removed plant material should be bagged and disposed of at landfill, or smothered until completely dead and left in place.

Our Experience

Periwinkle is incredibly difficult to remove once a population is established, and we are still experimenting to see what works best.  Small populations should be removed immediately wherever they occur.  Attempting to remove large populations by hand will result in significant soil disturbance; in these circumstances, it may be best to establish a perimeter and prevent population expansion.

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