Greater Periwinkle - Vinca Major
Greater periwinkle, or vinca major, is a lovely flowering plant native to the western Mediterranean region and is known by many names including blue periwinkle, bigleaf periwinkle, and large periwinkle just to name a few. It can currently be found all over the world, from Europe to Africa, to North America. The Latin word vinca refers to bind, and major refers to the large size, as it is has a smaller look-a-like named vinca minor. The perennial belongs to the Apocynaceae family and is considered an evergreen. It can grow to be as tall as 10 inches and is very commonly used as a groundcover in modern landscaping as well as be flourishing in the wild. Greater periwinkle is a long vine that typically stretches at least a dozen feet along the ground and can climb almost three feet high. The leaves are dark green, and a have a leather-like feel to them, while the five-point hermaphrodite flowers are a gorgeous violet-purple color and grow to be around a half an inch wide. Several variations have been created which feature slightly different shapes and sizes of flowers and well as darker and lighter hues of color. Riverbanks, woodlands, and undergrowth are just a few of the environments Greater periwinkle thrives in regardless of the amount of sun or shade. It is grown commonly in heavily shaded areas of home lawns & gardens, as well as the vines being used to help stabilize sloping areas where soil stabilization is required, and also makes great window box or hanging planters. In the USA and Australia, the plant is widely considered as an invasive species of weed which chokes out and kills other native plants. The hardy plant is rather tolerant to both animals such as deer and harsh drought. It grows best in dry to medium wet soil types.