Greater Periwinkle is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in woodland, hedgerows and waste ground, to a mature height of up to 45cm.
Greater Periwinkle, and the related smaller Lesser Periwinkle, are grown as garden plants and exists in the wild as garden escapes. Greater Periwinkle is distinguished from Lesser Periwinkle by having: larger flowers; larger, broader and more oval-shaped leaves; and hairy edges to the leaves. It is also more invasive.
Botanic classification and naming: Greater Periwinkle is a member of the Dogbane (Apocynaceae) family. The genus name
'Vinca' identifies the plant as a Periwinkle and its species name 'major' means 'larger-sized plant'.
Concerns: Greater Periwinkle can tolerate shade and poor soil to outcompete native plants and reduce species diversity. The plant is poisonous to cats, dogs and horses.
Benefits: Periwinkle contains several different Vinca alkaloids which have been found to be effective in chemotherapy for a range of cancers. They act by blocking the rapid cell division associated with cancer.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.