Tree Killers: Periwinkle

Return to our Tree Killers resource homepage here:
Tree Killers resource →


  • Common English name: Periwinkle
  • Other names: lesser periwinkle. dwarf periwinkle
  • Latin (scientific) name: Vinca minor

Threat type

150x150 plants

History in Canada

  • introduced to North America in the 1700’s from Eurasia as an ornamental
  • available from nurseries
  • found in southwest British Columbia, and from southern Ontario to Nova Scotia


  • a perennial, evergreen, trailing vine with glossy, dark green leaves
  • belongs to the Dogbane family
  • produces blue, five-petalled flowers in the spring
  • spreads mainly vegetatively by rooting along the stem
  • grows in dense mats that exclude most other plants
  • can grow in very dry, shady conditions

Impact on Trees

  • grows as a dense ground cover that prevents tree seedlings from becoming established

What can be done to control this tree killer?

  • cutting stems followed by removal of all roots
  • herbicide application to the entire plant
  • several years of control may be needed since the roots can resprout

Photo Gallery:

Follow us on social media to keep up-to-date.