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Report an Invasive Species

Periwinkle

Periwinkle

Periwinkle

(Vinca minor )

Priority: -  Control

Tags: Terrestrial

Identification and Reproduction

Identification: 

  • Periwinkle is an evergreen groundcover commonly planted as an ornamental.
  • Leaves are dark green and glossy and arranged oppositely. In certain growing conditions leaves may be varigated. 

  • Their vines can reach around 15 cm tall and spread two metres in length.
  • During lare spring and early summer periwinkle will produce blue to purple or even white flowers. They will be composed of 5 distinct petals. 

Reproduction:

  • Periwinkle reproduces vegetatively from rhizomes but also through cross-pollination. 
  • It is possible to grow by seed, but it will reproduce very slowly. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • Found throughout the Lower Mainland of BC. 
  • Typically growing in wet, forested areas in dense mats. 
  • Periwinkle perfers areas with nutritious and moist soil in partial shade. 

Impacts

Ecological:

  • Grows very rapidly and aggresively.
  • Often escapes ornamental gardens and spreads to forested areas. 
  • Displaces native species. 
  • As a ground cover it negatively impacts native conifer seedlings by taking up space and resources. 

Management

Mechanical/Manual Control: 

  • Since periwinkle has shallow roots it is easy to hand-pull the plant. 
  • Removal is best in small infestations and when soil is damp and loose. 
  • Ensure that there is minimal root fragmentation as they can resprout. 
  • If the infestaion covers a larger area it may be effective to use solarization; covering the area with a tarp or plastic covering. Leave for a minimum of 4 months to smother the plants. 

For alternative planting options to periwinkle download the ISCBC's Grow Me Instead brochure (pg. 15 and 16).

Resources

Download the Invasive Species Council of BC's Factsheet for Common Periwinkle here

Header photo (H. Zell).