Vinca minorApocynaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerLeafStem
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Common periwinkle

The Plant:

  • A low-growing, creeping groundcover.

The Leaves:

  • glossy
  • evergreen
  • ovate to oblong

The Stem:

  • trailing, creeping
  • roots at nodes

The Flowers:

  • Blue-violet pinwheel-shaped flower with five asymmetric petals and a star shape in the center. Blooms from March to June.

The Fruits:

  • tiny, inconspicuous

The Habitat:

  • woodlands
  • roadsides
  • gardens


  • rooting stems or runners take root when in contact with the soil
  • seeds are produced but are secondary to vegetative reproduction
  • still planted

Key ID Features:

  • low
  • creeping groundcover
  • evergreen
  • glossy
  • pinwheel shaped flower
  • star shape in center
  • blue-violet

Similar Species:

  • Very similar to Big leaf periwinkle (Vinca major) but has smaller leaves and flowers.


  • Periwinkle grows aggressively, and can form a dense evergreen groundcover that smothers and displaces native plants.
  • This species grows on Nantucket, but is not found in minimally managed habitats.

Growth Form: Vine

Origin: Europe

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Do not list at this time

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston