Periwinkle is an excellent evergreen groundcover with dark green foliage. native to the woodlands of Europe and North Africa. The perennial periwinkle (vinca minor) shouldn’t be confused with Madagascar periwinkle (or vinca major). Flowers are purple, blue, or white, and bloom in mid-spring.

botanical information:

    Botanical name: Vinca major or Vinca minor

    Common name: blue-buttons, centocchio (Italy, meaning hundred eyes, a reference to the large number of flowers), cockles, common periwinkle, creeping myrtle, cut-fingers, Flower of Death, Joy on the Ground, magenta creeping myrtle, pennywinkle, periwinkle, purpurea, rubra, wilk (Scotland), wine periwinkle

    Use the botanical name when ordering seeds (bulbs, etc.) or when looking up information in the library. Common names vary by nation, culture, and region, and sometimes the same common name is applied to different plants.


    Origin: Madagascar

part used:

    Part Used (herb): Leaves, seeds.

Information courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

magickal correspondences and uses:

    Magickal uses: Throughout the Caribbean, periwinkles were used as a protection against voodoo magic.

Information courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

    Love spells: Periwinkle flowers are appropriate for use in love spells, such as the Aphrodite New Moon love spell.

    Magickal substitutions: Rosemary usually may be safely substituted for any herb in magick spells and rituals. Roses may safely be substituted for any flower.

ancient myths and beliefs:

    Folk belief held that it was unlucky to bring a vine of periwinkle into a house unless it has at least seven flowers on it.

    Sometimes called the Flower of Death because it woven into a band to be worn by dead children at burial and was often planted around the graves of infants to protect their souls. During the medieval times (Christian Dark Ages) periwinkle was sometimes woven into crowns to be worn by criminal about to be executed.

    In the 1600s periwinkle was called the Joy on the Ground because it was associated with sex and the bond of marriage.

Some herbs may be poisonious under some conditions. Exercise appropriate care.

    Wild gathering: Avoid wild gathering. Some plants are endangered species. Some plants can be toxic just by touch. Even experts can make deadly misidentifications of wild plants. Please grow your own herbs in your own goddess garden (or window boxes).


See also: herbs.

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