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Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Exotic Species:
Periwinkle Vinca minor

Periwinkle grows as a woody groundcover and is known for its glossy, evergreen leaves which are arranged oppositely on the stems. A native of Europe, periwinkle has been widely planted in gardens, homesteads and cemeteries. Although it produces light blue, star-like flowers in the early spring, it is not known to spread by seed. However, it does spread by rhizomes (underground stems). Small plantings made decades ago in some pioneer cemeteries have persisted and now completely cover the cemetery and adjacent woodlands. The waxy layer on the leaves makes them especially resistant to herbicides.

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