Periwinkle-Vinca major,minor.

Also known as creeping Myrtle, this dense vigorous trailing evergreen plant makes great ground cover in shade. It grows to about 20cm and bears beautiful blue-violet sometimes white starshaped flowers. It prefers a moist rich loam based compost, and will thrive in any pH type soil as long as it doesn’t dry out! It will flower more profusely in some sunlight. It smothers weeds as it spreads and can quickly become invasive. But is very useful on steep banks to bind the soil thereby preventing erosion.

It is extremely frost hardy and resistant to disease. periwinkle-542942The word Vinca is derived from the latin word to bind or tie up and reflects it’s use in basket weaving. It makes a great background cover for hanging baskets. Historically it is commonly associated with funerals and was extensively planted in graveyards and used in wreaths. In W. Ukrainian weddings it is made into a bridal crown as a symbol of fertility and fidelity (tyeing together).

In ancient folklore it was worn to protect against the spells of witches (sorcerers violet) due to its pentagonal shaped flower. The leaves can be crushed and applied to surface wounds according to herbal texts. And the Vinca Alkaloids Vincristine and Vinblastin derived from the leaves, are well known anticancer drugs. And therefore should not be ingested by animals or humans. In the Language of Flowers it was given as a symbol of friendship and fond memories and to promote harmony a great addition to a shady part of any garden.


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