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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Cultivated / Escape, Native of Mediterranean Region"
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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"Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Nilgiri"
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Bigleaf periwinkle is native to Mediterranean Europe [1,4], Asia Minor [1], and northern Africa (review by [10]). Common periwinkle is native across all of continental Europe as far north as the Baltic States [86]. Both bigleaf [51,55,92,107] and common [29,42,50,55,97,100,103,117] periwinkle are frequently planted in North America and escape from cultivation. Periwinkles may also spread with the dumping of yard waste ([17,37], review by [10]). A review of 19th-century floras documented periwinkles in the United States by the late 1700s [112].

In the United States, bigleaf periwinkle has a U-shaped distribution from New York and Massachusetts in the east, south to Georgia, west to California, and north to Washington. Exceptions to this distributional pattern include Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, West Virginia, Florida, Oklahoma, and Nevada. Bigleaf periwinkle does not occur in the majority of the states in the Northern Great Plains or Northern and Central Rockies. Common periwinkle occurs in every state in the eastern United States from Minnesota south to Louisiana. It is discontinuously distributed in the western United States, occurring in Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Montana. The Plants Database provides a map of bigleaf and common periwinkle distributions in North America.

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Distribution: W. Mediterrenian, Asia Minor. Naturalized in Pakistan or else-where.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: caudex, coma, cover, vines

Botanical description: The following descriptions cover characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and are not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., for bigleaf periwinkle: [29,42,51,78,113]; for common periwinkle: [29,42,78,97,113]).

Periwinkles are vines [42,113] with scrambling or trailing stolons up to 3 feet (1 m) long and vertical stems 1 foot (30 cm) high [72]. The succulent stems become somewhat woody at the caudex [72]. Bigleaf periwinkle leaves are semievergreen [78], have a waxy cuticle [10], and are heart-shaped to triangular. They are 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 to 6 cm) long [72]. Common periwinkle leaves are evergreen [113], narrow, elliptic, and 0.8 to 1.8 inches (2 to 4.5 cm) long [72].

Periwinkle flowers are violet to blue-lavender, with 5 petals radiating pinwheel-like at right angles from floral a tube. Flowers are infrequently white. The flowers of bigleaf periwinkle are larger than those of common periwinkle [72].

Periwinkle fruits are slender, cylindrical follicles up to 2 inches (5 cm) long [72]. Follicles dry, split, and release 3 to 5 seeds (review by [72]). Periwinkle seeds are naked and without a coma [29].

Periwinkles are "fairly deep-rooted" (review by [79]). Common periwinkle plants in western Montana exhibited fibrous roots ranging from 1 to 3 inches (3-8 cm) long [96]. Further descriptions of roots were unavailable as of 2009.

 


Common (left) and bigleaf (right) periwinkle flowers.

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Description

A perennial herb woody at base, upto 90 cm tall, glabrous or rarely slightly pubescent. Main stem prostrate and rooting at nodes, other branches erect. Leaves ovate, 4-7 x 2.5-4.5 cm, acute or obtuse, glabrous or hairy on nerves beneath, margin ciliate, base truncate, cordate or rounded, membranous, petiole 5-8 cm long, margin hairy. Flowers blue, purple or white 3-4 cm across, pedicel 1.7-4 cm long, glabrous. Calyx tube campanulate; lobes 6-15 mm long, with long ciliate margin, narrowly lanceolate, Corolla tube almost equal to the calyx lobes, enlarged above the middle; lobes rhomboid or obovate 1.2-2.5 x 1-2 cm. Stigma capitate; style c. 1.5 cm long. Disc. scaly.
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Description

Herbs to 1 m tall, flowering stems to 30 cm. Leaf blade elliptic, ovate, or broadly ovate, 2-9 X 2-6 cm, base truncate or subcordate, margin ciliate with hairs 0.1-1 mm; lateral veins to 5 pairs. Pedicel 3-5 cm. Sepals narrowly triangular, ca. 9 mm, densely ciliate. Corolla bluish purple, tube 1.2-1.5 cm, limb 3-5 cm in diam., lobes obliquely truncate. Anthers short, applanate, apex puberulent. Follicles spreading, ca. 5 cm. Fl. Mar-May. 2n = 92.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Synonym

Vinca major var. variegata Loudon.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

General site types: Bigleaf periwinkle occurs in riparian areas ([6,21,29,33,34,49,71,112], reviews by [81,111]), forests ([29], reviews by [72,111]), grasslands, and coastal dunes (review by [111]). Bigleaf periwinkle is also associated with sites linked to human activities, including old homesites ([74,78,94], review by [72]), gardens [55], roadsides [55,92], "waste" areas ([55,78], review by [72]), and other highly disturbed areas [55].

Common periwinkle occurs in forests or "wooded" areas [29,37,45,57,60,78], including both open ([42,100,115], review by [72]) and closed ([53], reviews by [72,81]) forest. Common periwinkle also occurs along forest edges ([37], review by [25]), within second-growth forest [32], and in fields or meadows [77,78,90]. Common periwinkle is found along roadsides [3,18,42,47,48,78,94,97,100,115] or trail edges [47], at homesites ([12,35,50,74,84,85,94,103], review by [72]), in gardens [55] or yards [94], cemeteries [57,97], "waste" places [3,55,78,115], and in other disturbed sites [8,55,101,117]. At an "ancient" archeological site in the oak-beech forest region of France, common periwinkle was most abundant in disturbed areas including abandoned homesites, enclosures, and agricultural terraces, but was also found to a lesser extent in areas that showed no archeological evidence of human disturbance [35].

Elevation: Periwinkles occur at a range of elevations from sea level to 7,500 feet (2,300 m).

Elevation for sites with periwinkles in their nonnative ranges
Species Location Elevation (feet)
Bigleaf periwinkle California 7 to 650 [49]
North Carolina 5 [92]
Utah 5,000 [113]
Common periwinkle Florida 0 [24]
Utah 7,500 [113]
West Virginia 1,200 to 2,500 [9,18]

Climate: In their nonnative ranges, periwinkles do best in mild climates [4,99]. Few authors report climate data for sites with periwinkles; therefore, the climate data presented here may not represent climatic conditions throughout the nonnative ranges of periwinkles. Both species occur near Washington, DC, where the average daily temperature is 55.0 °F (12.8 °C) [94]. In Arkansas, periwinkles occur in an area with hot summers and moderately cool winters; only 4 days/year have snowfall >1.0 inch (2.5 cm). The first and last frosts in this region occur in early April and late October, respectively [55]. Bigleaf periwinkle occurs in the Huachuca Mountains, where mean daily temperatures are 79 °F (26 °C) in July and 48 °F (9 °C) in January [83]. Common periwinkle occurs on sites with mean daily temperatures in January as low as -7.8 °F (-22.1 °C) in New York [93], and in July as high as 82.2 °F (27.9 °C) in southwestern Georgia [100].

Annual rainfall is variable across the nonnative ranges of periwinkles.

Average annual rainfall for sites with periwinkles in their nonnative ranges
Species Location Annual rainfall (mm)
Both species Arkansas 1,080 [55]
Washington, DC 1,114 [94]
Bigleaf periwinkle Arizona 400 [83]
North Carolina 1,417 [92]
Common periwinkle Georgia 1,211 to 1,367 [100]
Illinois 963 [88]
New York 890 [93]
West Virginia 1,209 [18]

Periwinkles are somewhat drought tolerant; a review suggests that bigleaf periwinkle is more tolerant of drought than common periwinkle [79]. One review reports that hot, dry weather may cause bigleaf periwinkle death [7]. All bigleaf periwinkles in a greenhouse died after exposure to drying winds and intense heat (>100° F (38° C) for more than 10 days) [114]. Cold weather may damage bigleaf periwinkle (review by [7]), though one population in Ohio survived 2 of "the most severe winters of the past century, those of 1976 to 1977 and 1977 to 1978" [4].

Soils: Periwinkles are found on soils with a range of characteristics.

Parent material: Bigleaf periwinkle occurs on soils derived from granite, gneiss, or schist in Georgia [22]. In north-central Texas, it is associated with limestone [29].

Texture: In the Huachuca Mountains, bigleaf periwinkle occurs mainly on sandy-loam and sandy clay-loam riparian soils [83]. In its native range, common periwinkle is associated with soils of varying textures [35,44,53]. Common periwinkle occurs on silt loams in Ohio [58] and Illinois [88], clayey, loamy, and sandy soils in the Northeast [68], and rocky, sandy soil in Missouri [99].

Other soil characteristics: A review states that bigleaf periwinkle grows most vigorously in moist soil with only partial sun but may grow in deep shade with "poor" soil [7]. In Georgia, bigleaf periwinkle is associated with acidic clays [22]. Common periwinkle prefers moist sites [28,76,88], though it tolerates moderately well-drained soil [68]. While some sources suggest common periwinkle prefers fertile soil ([28], review by [25]), one source states that common periwinkle tolerates soils of low fertility [68]. In the oak-beech forest region of France, common periwinkle occurred on shallow soils ranging from 5.7 to 8.7 inches (14.4-22.1 cm) deep [35]. In its nonnative range, common periwinkle occurs on acid soils [18,68,88]. In France, common periwinkle occurred on soils with pH ranging from 6.7 to 7.2 [35].

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Habitat & Distribution

Jiangsu, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [native to Europe]
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
few, mostly central, mostly epiphyllous, immersed, black pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta vincae causes spots on live leaf of Vinca major
Remarks: season: 3-5

Foodplant / saprobe
linear, in rows,covered then erumpent pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis lirella is saprobic on dead, dry stem of Vinca major

Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phyllosticta vincae-majoris causes spots on leaf of Vinca major
Remarks: season: 9

Foodplant / parasite
Puccinia vincae parasitises live sterile, unnaturally erect of stem of Vinca major
Other: major host/prey

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General Ecology

Fuels and Fire Regimes

More info for the terms: cover, fire exclusion, fire intensity, fire regime, fuel, hardwood, litter, presence, tree

Fuels: As of this writing (2009), there was no information available regarding the flammability of periwinkles. Some evidence suggests that periwinkles may alter local fuel characteristics by changing community structure, litter dynamics, fuel arrangement, and understory temperatures. In Michigan, understory structure in a mixed-hardwood dune successional forest was changed when mats of common periwinkle replaced canopy tree seedlings and herbaceous understory plants [17]. Common periwinkle also greatly reduced the overall accumulation of leaf litter in this area (Bultman personal observation cited in [17]). In mature oak-hickory forest in southwestern Illinois, common periwinkle in the understory led to an increase in the amount of vegetated surface area [88]. Near Sydney, Australia, areas dominated by bigleaf periwinkle had significantly cooler temperatures than sites with little bigleaf periwinkle cover (P<0.01) [31]. The impact of these altered fuel characteristics likely varies based on departure from historical conditions and the dynamics of local FIRE REGIMES.

FIRE REGIMES: It is not known what type of fire regime periwinkles are best adapted to. In North America, periwinkles are found in plant communities that historically experienced long (e.g., northern hardwood, southern floodplain forests) and short (e.g., Appalachian oak-hickory-pine forests) fire-return intervals (see the Fire Regime Table). In many areas where periwinkles occur, historical FIRE REGIMES have been dramatically altered due to fire exclusion and massive disturbances associated with human settlement.

It is unclear how the presence of periwinkles may affect FIRE REGIMES in invaded communities. In ecosystems where periwinkles replace plants with similar fuel characteristics, they may alter fire intensity or slightly modify an existing fire regime. If periwinkle spread introduces novel fuel properties to the invaded ecosystem, fire behavior, and potentially fire regime, may be altered (see these citations: [14,26]). This topic warrants additional study.

See the Fire Regime Table for further information on FIRE REGIMES of vegetation communities in which periwinkles may occur.

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Vegetative regeneration

Vegetative regeneration is very important to the establishment and spread of both bigleaf ([74,113], reviews by [81,111]) and common ([66,88], review by [81]) periwinkles. Bigleaf periwinkle spreads with "great rapidity" by arching stolons, which root at the tips (review by [7]). Periwinkles form mats and extensive infestations even under forest canopies ([32], review by [72]). Given their ability to spread with the dumping of yard waste ([17,37], review by [10]), it is likely that periwinkles establish from plant fragments.

Bigleaf periwinkle grows in patches around the bases of trees or spreads up and down drainages through vegetative spread (review by [7]). In Belgium, common periwinkle distribution was not significantly clumped within forest patches despite its inability to disperse long distances (P>0.05) [56]. See Impacts for more information about vegetative rate of spread in periwinkles.

 

Stolons and roots of common periwinkle.

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: breeding system

Most periwinkle reproduction occurs through vegetative spread. Seeds are rarely produced [7,45,113], and seedlings are rarely observed in the field ([21], review by [7]).

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: chamaephyte, hemicryptophyte

Raunkiaer [82] life form:
Chamaephyte
Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the terms: forb, vine

Vine-forb

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Seed banking

There is limited information on seed banking in periwinkles. Though bigleaf periwinkle was the most abundant species in riparian areas in the Huachuca Mountains of Arizona, it was a minor component of the soil seed bank. Perennial, herbaceous native species dominated soil seed bank samples [83].

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Seed dispersal

No information is available on the dispersal of bigleaf periwinkle seeds. Common periwinkle seeds are dispersed by ants in its native range [54,56]. Some authors suggest that common periwinkle has no active dispersal mechanism [44]. One review states that common periwinkle does not spread to new areas by seed in its nonnative range [81].

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Seedling establishment and plant growth

Documentation of periwinkle establishment by seed is rare. Bigleaf periwinkle seedlings were found in riparian areas in California [21], though seedlings are rarely found in the field (review by [7]). Documentation of common periwinkle seedlings was not found in the literature as of 2009.

Limitations to periwinkle growth have been infrequently documented. Bigleaf periwinkle growth is limited by dry or cold temperatures, and hot, dry weather may cause death (review by [7]). Bigleaf periwinkle was limited to shady areas of a riparian canyon bottom at the Ramsey Canyon Preserve (Gebow 2009 personal communication [41]).

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Germination

As of 2003, periwinkle seed viability in the field was unknown (review by [72]). In laboratory studies, common periwinkle seeds exhibited an "extended dormancy period"; 70% germination occurred after 30 days using a combination of acid scarification and 90-day cold stratification. No germination occurred after 30-day stratification-scarification treatment or scarification treatment alone [110].

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Seed production

One review states that bigleaf periwinkle does not reproduce by seed in the wild in California [7], though occasional seedlings have been found [21]. Common periwinkle rarely produces seeds [45,113].

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Pollination and breeding system

Periwinkles are cross-pollinating plants [38].

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Bigleaf periwinkle generally flowers from March to June [4,29,42,78] but may bloom year-round in north-central Texas [29]. In the Carolinas bigleaf periwinkle produces fruit in June and July [78].

Common periwinkle generally flowers from between March and June depending on location [4,29,42,45,50,78,97]. In Georgia, most common periwinkle flowering occurs in early March, though flowering was observed as early as 28 February [40]. Common periwinkle fruits are produced from May to July in the southeastern United States ([78], review by [72]).

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Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: December-March.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vinca major

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vinca major

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 18
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

Periwinkles are popular ornamental groundcovers [10,37,68]. Their establishment in North America is largely due to their escape from cultivation [29,42,50,51,55,92,97,100,103,107]. Common periwinkle is easily propagated by cuttings [66]. Common periwinkle was planted for erosion control near Washington, DC [37]. Periwinkles are valued medicinal herbs (reviews by [7,81]), and common periwinkle is considered an aphrodisiac (review by [81]).

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Palatability and/or nutritional value: Periwinkles are generally unpalatable and have little nutritional value. Bigleaf periwinkle is listed as poisonous in South Africa [16]. Common periwinkle was an infrequent food item of the volcano rabbit in Mexico [20] and white-tailed deer in Indiana [91]. Caged Canada geese would not feed on common periwinkle, even when it was the only forage available [23].

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

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Wikipedia

Vinca major

Vinca major, with the common names bigleaf periwinkle, large periwinkle, greater periwinkle and blue periwinkle, is species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae, native to the western Mediterranean. Growing to 25 cm (10 in) tall and spreading indefinitely, it is an evergreen perennial, frequently used in cultivation as groundcover.

Etymology[edit]

The genus name probably derives from the Latin word vincire, meaning bind, as the long creeping vines were used to prepare garlands. The species name major refers to the larger size in respect of the similar Vinca minor L.

Description[edit]

Vinca major is a trailing vine, spreading along the ground and rooting along the stems to form dense masses of groundcover individually 2–5 m across and scrambling up to 50–70 cm high.

The leaves are opposite, nearly orbicular at the base of the stems and lanceolate at the apex, 3–9 cm long and 2–6 cm broad, glossy dark green with a leathery texture and an entire but distinctly ciliate margin, and a hairy petiole 1–2 cm long.

The flowers are hermaphrodite, axillary and solitary, violet-purple, 3–5 cm diameter, with a five-lobed corolla. The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is 10–17 millimetres (0.39–0.67 in) long with hairy margins. The flowering period extends from early spring to autumn.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species is found in southern Europe and northern Africa, from Spain and southern France east to the western Balkans, and also in northeastern Turkey and the western Caucasus. It prefers moist undergrowth, woodlands, hedgerows and banks along the rivers at an altitude of 0–800 metres (0–2,625 ft) above sea level. It grows well in full sun and in deep shade.

Subspecies[edit]

There are two subspecies, with geographically separate ranges:

  • Vinca major subsp. major - leaf petioles finely hairy, hairs short (Southern Europe)
  • Vinca major subsp. hirsuta (Boiss.) Stearn (syn. V. pubescens d'Urv.) - leaf petioles densely hairy, hairs longer; petals much narrower (Caucasus, northeastern Turkey)

The closely related Vinca minor is similar but smaller, with narrower, hairless leaves.

Cultivation[edit]

Vinca major is a commonly grown ornamental plant in temperate gardens for its evergreen foliage, spring flowers, and groundcover or vine use.

Many cultivars are available, with differences in flowers, such as white to dark violet flowers, and different patterns and colors of variegated foliage. The cultivar 'Variegata' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[1]

Gallery[edit]

Invasive plant species[edit]

Vinca major is an invasive species in temperate parts of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. It is especially a common noxious weed 'smothering' native plants and diversity in riparian area and oak woodland habitats of coastal California. It forms dense strands that envelop other plant life and can prevent saplings and shrubs from growing by blocking out the light. Periwinkle moves from place to place, with unintentional human help, in dumped garden waste or as plant fragments carried along in water.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Vinca major 'Variegata'". Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Periwinkle, Aliens Among Us. Virtual Exhibit of the Virtual Museum of Canada.
  • Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982, Vol. II, pag. 348
  • Flora Europaea: Vinca major distribution
  • Blamey, M., & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening 4: 664-665. Macmillan.
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Notes

Comments

Sometimes cultivated in the gardens.
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Comments

Cultivated for medicine.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The genus name for periwinkles is Vinca L. (Apocynaceae). This review summarizes information on the following periwinkle species [29,42,61,78,113]:

Vinca major L., bigleaf periwinkle

Vinca minor L., common periwinkle
In this review, species are referred to by their common names, and "periwinkles" refers to both species.
Numerous periwinkle cultivars are available [30,66].

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Common Names

bigleaf periwinkle

big periwinkle

greater periwinkle

large periwinkle

periwinkle

vinca

common periwinkle

lesser periwinkle

periwinkle

vinca

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