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Common Periwinkle

Gardeners across much of North America value common periwinkle, a commonly cultivated evergreen ground-cover plant from Eurasia for its small, blue, violet or white flowers and for its shade tolerance. A similar species, greater periwinkle (Vinca major) is less broadly adapted.

How does it spread?

Periwinkle is a spreading subshrub with wiry stems that root where they touch the ground, forming monoculture stands. It is sold in nurseries and garden centres as an ornamental and is commonly used in residential gardens, but is frequently spread to surrounding wooded areas in garden waste. 

Where would I find it?

The plant invades moist and mild areas in forests, woodlands, along watercourses, fields, meadows, roadsides, trail edges, and waste spaces particularly adjacent to residential neighbourhoods. Common periwinkle is found primarily in the Lower Mainland of BC. Greater periwinkle is found in similar, but drier areas on southern Vancouver Island and in the adjacent Gulf Islands.

What problems does it cause?

Common periwinkle is highly competitive due to its rapid growth and adaptability. Periwinkle forms dense mats that suppress native plants through direct competition, and degrades animal habitat.

Additional Recommendations

  • Queen's Cup (Clintonia uniflora) BC native (z6)
  • Piggy-back Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) BC native (z7)
  • Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregano) (z7)
  • Lowfast Cottoneaster (Cotoneaster dameri 'Lowfast') (z5)

A provincial initiative coordinated by ISCBC


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