(Also known as Vinca)
Type of weed: Vine or scrambler
Periwinkle is a vine that has a woody crown bearing runners up to 1 m long. The root system is hardy and fibrous, forming a mat 15–30 cm deep in the soil.
Leaves are large (15–60 mm long, 14–45 mm wide) with stalks and opposite. Each pair of leaves is generally at right angles to those above and below. The upper leaf surface is glossy and there are generally very short hairs along the leaf margins.
Flowers are large, 30–40 mm across and blue-purple or sometimes white, with five lobes from a basal tube 16–17 mm long. They are borne on upright stems to 50 cm long mainly in spring to summer.
Fruits (follicles) are 35–40 mm long, tapered at both ends and usually paired.
Don’t confuse with…
When there are no flowers, Vinca can look like the native Guinea Flower (Hibbertia scandens).
Most populations only reproduce vegetatively, but some produce viable seeds. Infestation can come from dumped garden waste.
Impact on bushland
Periwinkle covers the ground smothering all other plants and therefore impedes regeneration.
- Twining Purple Pea (Hardenbergia violacea)
- Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana)
- Guinea Flower (Hibbertia scandens)
- Dusky Coral Pea (Kennedia rubicunda)
- Matted Bush Pea (Pultenaea pedunculata)
- Blue Dampiera (Dampiera stricta)
- Native Violet (Viola hederacea)
- Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium)
- Old Man’s Beard (Clematis aristata)
NB: not Clematis cultivars; these can also be environmental weeds.
Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.
- Manually remove bulbs, corms and tubers
- Scrape and paint
Move leaf litter away from base of plant. Dig down next to the stem until the bulb or tuber is reached. Remove plant and carefully bag the bulb or tuber.
Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Fluroxypyr, Glyphosate, Metsulfuron methyl.
Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.
Scrape and paint
With a knife, scrape up to a metre of the stem to reach the layer below the bark/outer layer. Immediately apply herbicide along the length of the scrape.
- A maximum of half the stem diameter should be scraped. Do not ringbark.
- Larger stems (over 1 cm in diameter) should have two scrapes opposite each other.
- Vines can be left hanging in trees after treatment.
Specific control tips for this weed
- Very small patches (less than 1 m square) can be dug up. Follow-up treatments will be required. Stem and root fragments can re-sprout, so all plant material needs to be removed or spread out to dry off the ground.
- Scrape and paint with herbicide. This is fiddly with this plant, but effective. Follow-up treatment is required. Use this method around native plants.
- Spraying dense areas of Vinca can be effective if no native plants are present. Use a weak solution of herbicide with a surfactant to thoroughly wet all foliage and stems.
For key points on these techniques:
Local Priority Weed
- The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
- Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
- The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.