by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Vinca major   (Greater Periwinkle)

Vinca major  (APOCYNACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Vinca major - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Vinca majorL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 209 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Pervinca major Garsault
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Apocynaceae Juss. (The Dogbane Family)
7 species from the Apocynaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Greater Periwinkle, Blue Bottons

Maltese name(s) :

Pervinka, Vinka tal-warda kbira, Dliel il-Madliena

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: CHAMEOPHYTE ( dwarf or small woody shrubs )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – June

Colour of Flowers:

Blue or Violet


Toxic, and may lead to irreversible damage or death if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :

major: Bigger, larger, greater, superior. This term was often given to plants which are larger or 'more important' compared to other species in the same genus. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Woods, maquis and rocky areas close water courses.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Cultivated in gardens, yards and groves but a rare escapee from dumped horticultural material, preferring sheltered valley sides and maquis. A few of the known populations have persisted for more than 15 years and hence regarded as naturalised, but growth is limited to asexual spreading.
Botanical Description: Stems up to 100 cm, ascending in the lower part, then arching or procumbent, overwintering. Leaves 2.5-9 x 2-6 cm, mostly ovate or broadly ovate (rarely lanceolate), evergreen, the margins ciliate with hairs 0.1-1 mm. Flowering stems up to 30 cm; pedicels shorter than the subtending leaves. Calyx-lobes 7-17 mm, very narrowly triangular, the margins densely ciliate with hairs 0.5-1 mm. Corolla-tube 12-15 mm; limb 30-50 mm in diameter, usually bluish-purple; lobes obliquely truncate.
Distributional range: W. & C. Mediterranean region, frequently naturalized elsewhere.
Native region outside Europe: Mediterranean region

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Sicily and/or Malta, Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Greece, Ireland, Switzerland, Portugal, Russia and former USSR
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE Al Ga(F) dGr dHs Hs(S) It dSa Si(S) Sl Sr Tu(A) [AE dAg cAu Au(A) Az(L S) cBr Bu Ca(C G H P T) Co Cr nCy cGr cHb Hb(E) cHe Hu LS Lu dMa Md(M) No Si(M) Tu(A) Uk cUk(K)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (9 images)
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-0.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-1.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-2.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-3.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-4.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-5.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-6.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-7.
   Vinca major   -   Image Code: VNCMJ-8.

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