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Vinca major - L.

Common Name Greater Periwinkle, Bigleaf periwinkle, Myrtle, Large Periwinkle, Big Periwinkle
Family Apocynaceae
USDA hardiness 7-9
Known Hazards Large quantities of the plant are poisonous[19, 65].
Habitats Copses and hedgerows in S. England[17].
Range C. and S. Europe, N. Africa. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Vinca major Greater Periwinkle, Bigleaf periwinkle, Myrtle, Large Periwinkle, Big Periwinkle


Vinca major Greater Periwinkle, Bigleaf periwinkle, Myrtle, Large Periwinkle, Big Periwinkle

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Summary

Bloom Color: Blue. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Prostrate, Spreading or horizontal, Variable spread.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Vinca major is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Synonyms

Pervinca major (L.) Garsault [Invalid]

Habitats

Dappled Shade;  Deep Shade;  Hedgerow;  Shady Edge;  Sunny Edge;  Woodland Garden.

Copses and hedgerows in S. England[17].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Bitter;  Detergent;  Homeopathy;  Hypotensive;  Purgative;  Sedative;  Stomachic;  
Tonic;  Vasodilator.

The plant is astringent, bitter, detergent, sedative, stomachic and tonic[4, 7, 21, 53, 165, 238]. It contains the alkaloid 'vincamine', which is used by the pharmaceutical industry as a cerebral stimulant and vasodilator[238]. It also contains 'reserpine', which reduces high blood pressure[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of excessive menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, vaginal discharge and hardening of the arteries[238]. It should not be given to patients with constipation[238]. It is applied externally to vaginal discharge, nosebleed, sore throat and mouth ulcers[238]. The plants are cut when flowering and dried for later use[238]. The fresh flowers are gently purgative, but lose their effect on drying[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves[4]. It is used in the treatment of haemorrhages[4].

Other Uses

Basketry.

The stems are used in basket making[7]. A very good ground cover for covering steep banks and shady places, spreading rapidly once established and forming a dense cover within 2 years[11, 28, 31, 190, 200]. It is less dense on dry or exposed sites[197]. Plants are best spaced about 60cm apart each way[208].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Specimen. A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in almost any soil[200] but prefers those that are on the richer side[17]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant but they do not flower so well in deep shade[11, 28, 31]. They grow well under deciduous trees[187], and in such a situation can succeed in dry soils[190]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. A very ornamental[1] and polymorphic plant[200], there are some named forms selected for their ornamental value[187]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. This species rarely if ever sets seed in Britain[4]. It spreads rapidly by long trailing stems that root at their tips and leaf nodes, it can be invasive[4, 238]. Once it is established it will swamp out smaller plants[4]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if possible. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring just before active growth commences[78], or in autumn[1]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, 5 - 10 cm long, October in a cold frame. Roots quickly. High percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Vinca minorLesser Periwinkle, Flower of Death, English Holly, Creeping Myrtle, Creeping Vinca, Common Periwink03

 

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Botanical References

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Readers comment

amanda   Fri Mar 3 2006

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Subject : Vinca major  
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