Vinca (Apocynaceae)


Periwinkle, Myrtle
Periwinkle A Single Flower

Vinca is a genus of six species in the family Apocynaceae, native to Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia. The English name periwinkle is shared with the related genus Catharanthus. In India the plant is known as sadaphuli meaning “always flowering”.

Vinca-PacificaTypical Vinca Grouping

Vinca plants are subshrubs or herbaceous, and have slender trailing stems 3–6 feet long but not growing more than 8-30 inches above ground; the stems frequently take root where they touch the ground, enabling the plant to spread widely. The leaves are opposite, simple broad lanceolate to ovate, 1–9 cm.25–3.5 inches long and 0.25–2.25 inches broad; they are evergreen in four species, but deciduous in the herbaceous V. herbacea, which dies back to the root system in winter.

The flowers, produced through most of the year, are salverform (like those of Phlox), simple, 1–3 inches broad, with five usually violet (occasionally white) petals joined together at the base to form a tube. The fruit consists of a pair of divergent follicles; a dry fruit which is dehiscent along one rupture site in order to release seeds.

Two of the species, Vinca major and Vinca minor, are extensively cultivated as a flowering evergreen ornamental plant. Because the plants are low and spread quickly, they are often used as a ground cover in garden landscapes and container gardens. They are also traditionally used in older cemeteries as an evergreen maintenance-free ground cover. Many cultivars are available, with different plant, leaf, and flower – colors, sizes, and habits.

Although attractive, both Vinca major and Vinca minor may be mildly invasive in some regions where they are introduced species because of the rapid spreading resulting in choking out native plant species and altering habitats. Areas affected include parts of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, especially coastal California. In other cases, Vinca has been recommended as a fire retardant ground cover. Invasiveness is regionally variable and many vincas won’t readily displace native species.

Toxic Principle:
Vinca Alkaloids

Poisoning Symptoms include:
Vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, depression, tremors, seizures, coma, death.


 Lone Star English Setter Club provides this information
as a partial reference of the potential poisons that could harm your dog.
We are not veterinarian’s and DO NOT provide medical help.

If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance,
contact your local veterinarian or
the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poisoning hotline directly