Vinca minor L.


Vinca minor plant

Family - Apocynaceae

Stems - Trailing, twining, herbaceous, green, glabrous or sparsely glandular pubescent, typically hollow, to +2m long.

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate. Petioles to 4mm long, glabrous. Blades elliptic-ovate to oblong-elliptic, glabrous, entire, acute, shiny green above, silvery green below, to +3.5cm long, -2cm broad.

Vinca minor leaves

Inflorescence - Single flowers from the leaf axils. Pedicels to -2cm long in flower.

Flowers - Corolla 2.5-3cm broad, salverform, 5-lobed, bluish-purple. Corolla tube 1.1cm long, glabrous externally, pubescent internally just at throat. Lobes truncate at apex, 1cm long and broad (at apex). Stamens 5, opposite the corolla lobes, adnate at apex of the corolla tube. Filaments green, 2.5mm long, bent at the base and with a few hairs in the lower portion of the bend, expanded and compressed at the apex. Anthers yellow, 1.6mm long, densely pubescent. Style green, 4.5mm long, glabrous. Stigma densely white pubescent (villous). Ovary 2-carpellate, superior, 1.4mm long, green, glabrous, with two opposing nectaries adjacent to the carpels. Nectaries yellowish to purple in flower. Calyx 5-lobed, green, glabrous. Tube to 1.5mm long. Lobes typically 4-5mm long, linear-subulate, acute, glabrous. Often 1 lobe expanded and colored as the corolla.

Vinca minor flower

Vinca minor calyxCalyx.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Woods, bluffs, waste ground.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This popular species in cultivation has found its way to many wild places in Missouri. It can be aggressive if left unchecked and can form large mats covering many square meters. The striking blue flowers appear in the spring. This species can be differentiated from a similar species, V. major L., by its smaller leaves and flowers.

Photographs taken off Hwy 158, Rockingham County, NC., 3-22-03.