Vinca minor
Vinca minor12.jpg
Vinca minor plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Unranked: Angiosperms
Unranked: Eudicots
Unranked: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Vinca
Species: V. minor
Binomial name
Vinca minor

Vinca minor, Lesser periwinkle and Dwarf periwinkle, is a plant native to central and southern Europe, from Portugal and France north to the Netherlands and the Baltic States, and east to the Caucasus, and also in southwestern Asia in Turkey. Other vernacular names used in cultivation include Small periwinkle, Common periwinkle, and sometimes in the United States, Myrtle or Creeping myrtle [1], although this is misleading, as the name myrtle normally refers to the Myrtus species.


Vinca minor is a trailing, viny subshrub, spreading along the ground and rooting along the stems to form large clonal colonies and occasionally scrambling up to 40 cm high but never twining or climbing. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, 2-4.5 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad, glossy dark green with a leathery texture and an entire margin.

The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils and are produced mainly from early spring to mid summer but with a few flowers still produced into the autumn; they are violet-purple (pale purple or white in some cultivated selections), 2-3 cm diameter, with a five-lobed corolla. The fruit is a pair of follicles 2.5 cm long, containing numerous seeds.

The closely related species Vinca major is similar but larger in all parts, and also has relatively broader leaves with a hairy margin.

Common NamesEdit

Dwarf Periwinkle, Myrtle, Creeping Myrtle, Periwinkle, or Vinca


  • Partial sun to full shade
  • Hardy to zone 4


  • Considered to be invasive