Blue Periwinkle (Vinca major)

Roger Griffith
Roger Griffith

Family: Apocynaceae

Growth Habit: Blue periwinkle has smooth, dark oval shaped leaves. It was once a popular garden plant, however its vigorous spreading habit and strong competition it provides against other plants leads to most people regarding it as a serious weed.

Type of plant: A scrambling, low growing perennial, with long trailing stems which may root at the nodes.

Flowers: Attractive bluish-purple, five petalled flowers.

Seeds: Fertile seed is rarely (if ever) produced as most infestations consist only of female plants.

Dispersal: Plants spread by the stems producing new roots at the nodes, from where new plants arise.

Distribution: Widespread garden escape on roadsides and waste places, cemeteries and abandoned house blocks. It is also a significant bushland invader in damp forests.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania but considered an Environmental Weed.

Weed Impact:

  • Can dominate the understorey and exclude native species.
  • Often escapes gardens onto adjoining properties.

For further information contact the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania.

Control Methods:

  • Cutting (all year). Repeated cutting and mowing before seeding will help control it.
  • Herbicide (spring, summer and autumn). Glyphosate is registered for use in Tasmania. Repeated applications may be necessary.
  • Grubbing. Suitable for small controllable areas. After removing as much of the plant as possible cover the area with newspaper and mulch heavily.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.