common periwinkle USDA PLANTS Symbol: VIMI2
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Forbs/Herbs Vines
Vinca minor L.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Gentianales: Apocynaceae
Synonym(s): lesser periwinkle, myrtle
Native Range: Europe, W. Asia (REHD);

Vinca minor is a vine-like erect or trailing groundcover; mostly evergreen; stems slender.
Leaves are opposite, dark green, glossy, oval to lance-shaped, thick-textured; may be variegated.
Flowers are blue, lavender or white, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) across, five petals blunt at tip, arranged in spiral; blooms in springtime.
No fruits or seeds typically. Spreads vegetatively through rhizomes.
Ecological Threat
Vinca minor has escaped cultivation and is invading natural areas throughout the eastern U.S. It inhabits open to shady sites including forests and often escapes from old homesites. Vinca minor grows vigorously and forms dense and extensive mats along the forest floor, displacing native herbaceous and woody plant species. Vinca minor was first introduced into North America in the 1700s as an ornamental. It is still commonly sold as an ornamental ground cover.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at

Plant(s); in flower
Jil Swearingen, USDI National Park Service,
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Dan Tenaglia,,
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Chris Evans, University of Illinois,
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Chris Evans, University of Illinois,
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database,
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia,
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Greene Storm, St. John's University,
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EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit

State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina)
Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
George Washington Memorial Parkway (Virginia)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina & Tennessee)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
Kings Mountain National Military Park (South Carolina)
Monocacy National Battlefield Park (Maryland)
National Capital Parks East (Washington, D.C.)
Rock Creek National Park (Washington, D.C.)
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Stones River National Battlefield (Tennessee)

Invasive Listing Sources:
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 2004
Faith Campbell, 1998
Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.  2003. Invasive Plant Control in Maryland. Home and Garden Information Center, Home and Garden Mimeo HG88. 4 pp.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 1994
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Native Plant Society of Oregon, 2008
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, 2004
North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1998
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Pennsylvania.
Reichard, Sarah. 1994.  Assessing the potential of invasiveness in woody plants introduced in North America. University of Washington Ph.D. dissertation.
Rhode Island Natural History Society,
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council
Virginia Invasive Plant Species List