Periwinkle
Apocynaceae - Vinca major
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What does it look like?

Periwinkle is a scrambling groundcover plant that resembles a vine.  The trailing stems can grow more than 2m long and take root where they come in contact with the soil.  Its leaves are glossy, 4-10cm long, 3-7cm wide and arranged in opposite pairs on the stem.  It produces blue-violet flowers that have 5 petals and are 4-5cm in diameter.

Periwinkle is a widespread escape from cultivation.  It grows best in moist, shady places such as waste places, riverbanks, roadsides, forest margins, and shrublands.

Why is it a problem?

This species is fast-growing, tolerant of shade, and moderately tolerant of dry or wet conditions.  Its creeping, layering habit allows it to form dense, long-lived stands.  It can regrow after being damaged or grazed. Sussequently, it can dominate bare areas and outcompete native ground-cover species.

Periwinkle does not usually produce seeds but can regrow from fragments of roots and stems.

Control Methods

Extremely difficult to kill.

  1. Options:
    Dig out very small sites. Dispose of plant material at a refuse transfer station or burn. Check for regrowth.
  2. Weed wipe (all year round ): glyphosate (500ml/L + penetrant).
  3. Spray (all year round): glyphosate (20ml/L + penetrant). Follow up on resprouting pieces with (30ml/L) mix. Requires constant follow up. Apply twice a year, in spring and in autumn. Treatment is required for three or more years.
  4. Spray (all year round): 20ml glyphosate + 1g metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg per 10L. Avoid use within drip line of susceptible species.
  5. Mowing: For level, easily accessed land, mow with lawnmower on very low setting, 2-3 times a year. As it regrows, follow up by grubbing remaining roots with grubber or shovel. Leave on site to rot down. Takes 1-2 years to eradicate.
  6. Smothering: use black plastic or weedmat. Cover sites as they are, or rake into big rolls and then cover (6+ months). Hand-remove surviving plants.

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