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Toxic parts

Large quantities of the plant are poisonous[1][2].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Vinca minor.

Material uses

The stems are used in basket making[3]. A very good ground cover for covering steep banks and shady places, spreading rapidly once established and forming a dense cover within 2 years[4][5][6][7][8]. It is less dense on dry or exposed sites[9]. Plants are best spaced about 60cm apart each way[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The plant is sedative and tonic[11][12][13]. It contains the alkaloid 'vincamine', which is used by the pharmaceutical industry as a cerebral stimulant and vasodilator[14]. Since the discovery of vincamine in the leaves, the plant has been used herbally to treat arteriosclerosis and for dementia due to insufficient blood supply to the brain[15].

The leaves are bitter, detergent and stomachic[3]. Taken internally, they are used in the treatment of internal bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding and nosebleeds[15]. When crushed and applied to wounds they have astringent and healing properties[3]. A mouthwash is used to treat gingivitis, sore throats and mouth ulcers[15]. The leaves are gathered in the spring and dried for later use[3]. The root is antispasmodic and hypotensive[3][1]. It is used to lower the blood pressure[1]. The root is gathered in the autumn and dried for later use[3]. The fresh flowers are gently purgative, but lose their effect on drying[16].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves[16]. It is used in the treatment of haemorrhages[16].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if possible. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Division in spring just before active growth commences[17], or in autumn[18]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, 5 - 10 cm long, October in a cold frame. Roots quickly. High percentage[17].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Vinca minor. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in almost any soil[8] but prefers those that are on the richer side[19]. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant but they do not flower so well in deep shade[4][5][6]. It grows well under deciduous trees[20], and in such a position it can succeed in dry soils[7]. Established plants are drought tolerant[7].

A very ornamental[18] and polymorphic plant[8], there are some named forms selected for their ornamental value[20]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[21].

This species rarely if ever sets seed in Britain[16]. It spreads rapidly by long trailing and rooting stems once it is established and will swamp out smaller plants[16].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Vinca minor. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Vinca minor.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Vinca minor
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
permanent shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
  2. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  5. ? Knight. F. P. Plants for Shade. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0-900629-78-9 (1980-00-00)
  6. ? Brown. Shade Plants for Garden and Woodland. ()
  7. ? Chatto. B. The Dry Garden. Dent ISBN 0460045512 (1982-00-00)
  8. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden. ()
  13. ? 13.013.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  14. ? 14.014.1 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  15. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  16. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  19. ? 19.019.1 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
  21. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)

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