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Vinca minor

Vinca minor

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Gentianales

Familia: Apocynaceae
Subfamilia: Rauvolfioideae
Tribus: Vinceae
Subtribus: Vincinae
Genus: Vinca
Species: Vinca minor

Vinca minor L. (1753)

Pervinca minor (L.) Garsault, Fig. Pl. Méd.: t. 448 (1764), opus utique oppr.
Vinca humilis Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 146 (1796), nom. superfl.
Vinca minor var. alba Weston, Bot. Univ. 1: 350 (1770).
Vinca minor var. argenteovariegata Weston, Bot. Univ. 1: 351 (1770).
Vinca minor var. plena-purpurea Weston, Bot. Univ. 1: 350 (1770).
Vinca minor var. variegata Weston, Bot. Univ. 1: 351 (1770).
Pervinca procumbens Gilib., Exercit. Phyt. 1: 63 (1792).
Vinca ellipticifolia Stokes, Bot. Mat. Med. 1: 495 (1812).
Vinca minor var. atropurpurea Sweet, Hort. Brit.: 274 (1826).
Vinca minor var. multiplex Sweet, Hort. Brit.: 274 (1826).
Vinca intermedia Tausch, Flora 19: 386 (1836).
Vinca minor flore-pleno Drapiez, Hort. Belge 3: 292 (1836), contrary to Art. 23.6. (ICN, 2012).
Pervinca heterophyla Raf., Autik. Bot.: 184 (1840).
Pervinca repens Raf., Autik. Bot.: 184 (1840).
Vinca acutiflora Bertol. ex W.D.J.Koch, Syn. Fl. Germ. Helv., ed. 2: 557 (1844).
Vinca minor variegata (Weston) Abbey, J. Hort. Cottage Gard. 32: 82 (1864).
Vinca minor var. intermedia (Tausch) Nyman, Consp. Fl. Eur.: 497 (1881).
Vinca minor f. alba (Weston) Dippel, Handb. Laubholzk. 1: 157 (1889).
Vinca minor f. azurea Dippel, Handb. Laubholzk. 1: 157 (1889).
Vinca minor var. caerulea W.Mill. in L.H.Bailey, Cycl. Amer. Hort. 4: 1934 (1902).
Vinca minor f. violacea Bolzon, Bull. Soc. Bot. Ital. 1904: 31 (1904).
Vinca minor var. aureovariegata W.Mill. ex C.K.Schneid., Ill. Handb. Laubholzk. 2: 849 (1912).
Vinca minor var. azurea (Dippel) C.K.Schneid., Ill. Handb. Laubholzk. 2: 849 (1912).
Vinca minor f. argenteovariegata (Weston) Rehder, Bibl. Cult. Trees: 580 (1949).
Vinca minor f. atropurpurea (Sweet) Rehder, Bibl. Cult. Trees: 580 (1949).
Vinca minor f. multiplex (Sweet) Rehder, Bibl. Cult. Trees: 580 (1949).
Vinca minor f. variegata (Weston) Rehder, Bibl. Cult. Trees: 580 (1949).
Vinca minor var. sabinka H.Scholz, Willdenowia 12: 291 (1982).


See Vinca minor (disambiguation)

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Poland, C-European Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Portugal, Spain, France, Corsica, Sicily, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Montenegro, Serbia & Kosovo, Macedonia
Continental: Asie
Northern Caucasus, Transcaucasus, Kazakhstan

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 209. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Vinca minor in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Oct. 23. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2018. Vinca minor. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2018. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Oct. 23. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2018. Vinca minor. Published online. Accessed: Oct. 23 2018.
The Plant List 2013. Vinca minor in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Oct. 23. 2018. Vinca minor. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Oct. 23.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Vinca minor in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.
Tela Botanica (ed.) 2000 onwards: Tela Botanica. Le réseau de la botanique francophone. eFlore. Vinca minor. Association Tela Botanica, Montpellier, France. Accessed: 2011 Nov 29.

Vernacular names
العربية: عناقية صغيرة
azərbaycanca: Kiçik qıfotu
български: Малка винка
kaszëbsczi: Zwëczajny bôrwik
čeština: Barvínek menší
Cymraeg: Perfagl fach
dansk: Liden Singrøn
Deutsch: Kleines Immergrün
English: Lesser Periwinkle
español: Vincapervinca
فارسی: پیچ تلگرافی
suomi: Pikkutalvio
français: Petite pervenche
Frysk: Frisselgrien
hrvatski: Mali zimzelen
hornjoserbsce: Mały barbjenk
magyar: Kis meténg
հայերեն: վինկա ցածրահասակ
Ido: Pervinko
italiano: Pervinca minore
қазақша: Кіші қабыршөп
lietuvių: Mažoji žiemė
Nederlands: Kleine maagdenpalm
polski: Barwinek pospolity
português: Pervinca
română: Saschiu
русский: Барвинок малый
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zimzelen
slovenčina: Zimozeleň menšia
slovenščina: Navadni zimzelen
српски / srpski: Зимзелен
svenska: Vintergröna
Türkçe: Küçük Cezayir menekşesi
українська: Барвінок малий
walon: Pitite vintche
中文(简体): 小蔓长春花
中文(繁體): 小蔓長春花
中文(台灣): 小蔓長春花
中文: 小蔓长春花

Vinca minor (common names lesser periwinkle[1] or dwarf periwinkle) is a species of flowering plant in the dogbane family, native to central and southern Europe, from Portugal and France north to the Netherlands and the Baltic States, east to the Caucasus, and also southwestern Asia in Turkey. Other vernacular names used in cultivation include small periwinkle, common periwinkle, and sometimes in the United States, myrtle or creeping myrtle.[2]
Leaf margins for comparison; Vinca minor above, Vinca major below; note hairless margin of V. minor, hairy margin of V. major. Scale in mm.


Vinca minor is a trailing subshrub, spreading along the ground and rooting along the stems to form large clonal colonies and occasionally scrambling up to 40 centimetres (16 in) high but never twining or climbing. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, 2–4.5 centimetres (0.79–1.77 in) long and 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) broad, glossy dark green with a leathery texture and an entire margin.

The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils and are produced mainly from early spring to mid summer but with a few flowers still produced into the autumn; they are violet-purple (pale purple or white in some cultivated selections), 2–3 centimetres (0.79–1.18 in) diameter, with a five-lobed corolla. The fruit is a pair of follicles 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) long, containing numerous seeds.

The closely related species Vinca major is similar, but larger in all parts, and also has relatively broader leaves with a hairy margin.
Ground cover with dense growth

The species is commonly grown as a groundcover in temperate gardens for its evergreen foliage, spring and summer flowers, ease of culture, and dense habit that smothers most weeds. It was once commonly planted in cemeteries in parts of the Southern United States and naturalized periwinkle may indicate the presence of graves whose other markers have disappeared.[3]

The species has few pests or diseases outside its native range and is widely naturalised and classified as an invasive species in parts of North America. Invasion can be restricted by removal of rooting stems in spring.[4] Once established, it is difficult to eradicate, as its waxy leaves shed most water-based herbicide sprays. However, spraying with glyphosate easily kills the plant in 2-3 weeks. Removal involves cutting, followed by immediate application of concentrated glyphosate or triclopyr to the cut stems. Repeated chemical treatments may be necessary, along with digging up the roots where feasible.[5]
Cv. ‘Argenteovariegata’

There are numerous cultivars, with different flower colours and variegated foliage. Many have a less vigorous habit than the species, and are therefore more suitable for smaller gardens. The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-[6]

'Argenteovariegata'[7] (leaves have creamy white margins)
'Atropurpurea'[8] (burgundy-purple flowers)
'Azurea Flore Pleno'[9] (double blue flowers)
'Bowles’s Variety’[10] (violet-blue flowers: also known as ‘Bowles’s Blue’ and ‘La Grave’)
'Ralph Shugert'[11]

Medicinal use: chemical constituents

Vinca minor contains more than 50 alkaloids, including vincamine.[12] Other alkaloids include reserpine, reserpinine, akuammicine, majdine, vinerine, ervine, vineridine, tombozine, vincamajine, vincanine, vincanidine,[13] vincamone, apovincamine, vincaminol, desoxyvincaminol,[14] vincorine[15] and perivincine.[16]

Vinpocetine (brand names: Cavinton, Intelectol; chemical name: ethyl apovincaminate) is a semisynthetic derivative alkaloid of vincamine.

The colour name periwinkle is derived from the flower.

BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
Foster, Rachel. "So Many Myrtles — Unraveling the confusion and contradiction". Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
Hobbs, Holly (2012-11-20). "Preservation group discovers Fairfax County's past as it cleans up graves". Washington Post.
"Vinca minor". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved August 26, 2006.
"Vines". NPS. November 11, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
"AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 107. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
"Vinca minor Argenteovariegata". RHS. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
"Vinca minor Atropurpurea". RHS. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
"Vinca minor 'Azurea Flore Pleno'". RHS. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
"Vinca minor 'Bowles's Variety'". RHS. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
"Vinca minor 'Ralph Shugert'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
Khanavi, M.; Pourmoslemi, S.; Farahanikia, B.; Hadjiakhoondi, A.; Ostad, S. N. (2010). "Cytotoxicity ofVinca minor". Pharmaceutical Biology. 48 (1): 96–100. doi:10.3109/13880200903046187. PMID 20645762. S2CID 42993549.
Tulyaganov, T. S.; Nigmatullaev, A. M. (2000). "Alkaloids of Vinca minor". Chemistry of Natural Compounds. 36 (5): 540. doi:10.1023/A:1002820414086. S2CID 45597272.
Smeyers, Y. G.; Smeyers, N. J.; Randez, J. J.; Hernandez-Laguna, A.; Galvez-Ruano, E. (1991). "A structural and pharmacological study of alkaloids of Vinca Minor". Molecular Engineering. 1 (2): 153. doi:10.1007/BF00420051. S2CID 93210480.
Yasui, Y.; Kinugawa, T.; Takemoto, Y. (2009). "Synthetic studies on vincorine: Access to the 3a,8a-dialkyl-1,2,3,3a,8,8a-hexahydropyrrolo\2,3-b]indole skeleton". Chemical Communications (28): 4275–7. doi:10.1039/b907210a. PMID 19585045.

Farnsworth, N. R.; Draus, F. J.; Sager, R. W.; Bianculli, J. A. (2006). "Studies on Vinca major L. (Apocynaceae) I. Isolation of perivincine". Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. 49 (9): 589. doi:10.1002/jps.3030490908.

Further reading

Flora Europaea: Vinca minor distribution
Morphology and ecology of Vinca minor (in Spanish)
Borealforest: Vinca minor
Vinca minor (from Ohio State University's Pocket Gardener)
Common periwinkle (as an invasive species; includes photos)
Blamey, M., & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Hodder & Stoughton.
Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening 4: 665. Macmillan.
detailed technical description
Encyclopedia of Life database entry

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