Periwinkle Is A Magic Violet. Planting And Care, Types. Medicinal Properties. Photo

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Periwinkle Is A Magic Violet. Planting And Care, Types. Medicinal Properties. Photo
Periwinkle Is A Magic Violet. Planting And Care, Types. Medicinal Properties. Photo

Video: Periwinkle Is A Magic Violet. Planting And Care, Types. Medicinal Properties. Photo

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Periwinkle (Vinca) is a genus of creeping dwarf shrubs or perennial grasses of the Apocynaceae family. The leaves of the periwinkle are remarkable for their amazing strength and vitality, retaining a fresh look even under the snow, which is why the periwinkle transferred from the forest to gardens and parks has become a symbol of vitality.

Great periwinkle (Vinca major)
Great periwinkle (Vinca major)


  • "Magic" periwinkle
  • Description of periwinkle
  • Features of growing periwinkles
  • Use of periwinkle in design
  • Periwinkle species
  • The history of the discovery of the medicinal properties of periwinkle
  • The use of periwinkle in traditional medicine

"Magic" periwinkle

It is known that the antiquity of the periwinkle was widely used in "magic". The ancient Celts endowed the periwinkle with protective properties and called it "magic violet".

In Austria and Germany, periwinkle wreaths were used for divination for marriage; hung over the windows, they protected the house from lightning strikes. Flowers collected between the Assumption and Nativity of the Virgin had the ability to drive away all evil spirits: they were worn on themselves or hung over the front door.

In the Middle Ages, in court, with the help of periwinkle, they checked whether the accused had a connection with the devil. Wreaths made of periwinkle (it was called "the violet of the dead", since wreaths were woven from it on graves), hung over the entrance, helped to find the witch. Periwinkle owes all these magical properties to its amazing vitality - it lives as long as a drop of water remains in the vase (and the other flowers in the bouquet have dried up long ago), and if you take it out of the vase and stick it into the ground, it will quickly take root.

Description of periwinkle

In nature, about 6 species are known, originating from Europe, Africa, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean. Periwinkles are perennial, creeping, evergreens with opposite, leathery, shiny leaves.

The flowers are solitary, located in the leaf axils. The corolla is funnel-shaped with a long, cylindrical, thin tube. The fruit is a leaflet.

Great periwinkle (Vinca major)
Great periwinkle (Vinca major)

Features of growing periwinkles

All periwinkles are resistant and reliable plants.

Location: in open ground they are not demanding, they tolerate both strong shading and bright sun, although they prefer shady and semi-shaded places.

Soil: Borvinok is not picky about the soil, but it grows better and blooms longer on fertile, loose, well-drained soils with a neutral reaction, for example, on the trunks of apple trees, pears, cherries.

Care: periwinkles are very responsive to feeding with organic and mineral fertilizers. It is better to use humus, compost or leafy soil as fertilizer. For better tillering, it is necessary to pinch old and young shoots. Winter-hardy, but young shoots are sometimes damaged by spring frosts. It is advisable to cover the pubescent periwinkle with a small layer of leaf for the winter.

Reproduction: by dividing the bush, by cuttings, less often by seeds. Planting is carried out in late August - early September or spring; the distance between plants should be 20-30 cm. The cuttings take root quickly, and at the beginning of September, well-developed plants are planted in place. Young plantings for the winter should be covered with a small layer of leaf.

Use of periwinkle in design

Periwinkles are used as decorative deciduous and beautifully flowering plants in rocky gardens, as ground covers in shady areas of parks and squares. Effective in wide borders.

Periwinkles are excellent ground cover plants. Lesser periwinkle, for example, is capable of forming extremely dense homogeneous carpets. Having once seized a suitable foothold, he no longer concedes it to anyone. Only new conditions, for example, a sharp change in illumination, can "shake" it.

The cover of periwinkle is well decorated and at the same time not steep bare slopes are strengthened. He can here side by side with shrubs, without interfering with their growth, and dense needles will simply "flow over". Periwinkle can act as an ampelous plant, hanging from the retaining wall, it is the neighborhood of stones.

Variegated forms can serve as colorful spots in the foregrounds of flower beds, solo along with flowering perennials and shrubs, and create background thickets at the foot of higher plants.

Small periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Small periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Periwinkle species

Great periwinkle (Vinca major). This large, unpretentious species, rising above the ground up to 30 cm in height, grows in Southern Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. Evergreen leathery leaves are large, up to 5 cm long. Light blue flowers, reaching a diameter of 3-4 cm, appear in May-June. It tolerates partial shade well.

The plant grows quickly and is capable of covering large areas of a hill. This species is usually planted in separate clumps. Bred varieties with yellow and whitish leaves. For the winter, it is better to cover this type of periwinkle with spruce branches.

Small periwinkle (Vinca minor). A frost-resistant and unpretentious look, which is usually recommended to breed for beginner fans of slides. His homeland is Europe and Asia Minor. On sufficiently long shoots, oblong dark green leathery leaves are located, which do not die off for the winter. Blooms in May to mid-June. Flowers are blue, single, large, up to 5 cm in diameter. Small periwinkle is used as a ground cover plant that can grow rapidly and cover large areas.

Old leaves die off slowly, so bald spots do not appear in a continuous cover. With good care, it blooms again in August. Well tolerates trampling. In folk medicine, the leaves containing tannins are used as a diuretic and hemostatic agent. Bred garden forms with white, pink and purple-red flowers. The leaves of some varieties can be silvery, yellow at the edges, or even variegated.

Pubescent Periwinkle (Vinca puhescense). Found in the wild in the coastal forests of the western Caucasus. Roots well when in contact with soil. Blooms in May-June. Blooming shoots rise above the carpet of stems and leaves. Single blue flowers up to 3-3.5 cm in diameter look beautiful against a green background of foliage.

Long bloom - 20-30 days. Leaves fall in autumn. For the winter, the plant is covered with a layer of litter, since young shoots are damaged by severe frosts.

Herb periwinkle (Vinca herbacea). The homeland of this species is Crimea, the Carpathians, the Caucasus and the European Plain. Annually forms long, up to a meter or more, creeping shoots with small leathery dark green leaves. It forms a not as dense cover as periwinkle.

It blooms with blue flowers in mid-June for 20-25 days. Prefers dry, well-lit places. Does not tolerate excess moisture in the soil. At the end of summer, the tops of the shoots take root.

Small periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Small periwinkle (Vinca minor)

The history of the discovery of the medicinal properties of periwinkle

The XIV All-Union Congress of Physicians, held in 1956, paid special attention to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. In this regard, in recent years, a number of research institutions and departments of medical and pharmaceutical institutes have been working in the field of finding new effective means for the treatment of these diseases.

Despite the advances in synthetic chemistry, plant preparations still serve as the main means for the treatment of heart diseases, with the most important and most numerous group being plants containing cardiac glycosides.

From the representatives of the kutrovy family of our flora, periwinkle attracted the attention. A.P. Orekhov and his co-workers isolated the alkaloids vinine and pubescin from the pubescent periwinkle - Vinca pubescens in 1934. In the same year, periwinkle extract and the alkaloid vinine were found to significantly lower blood pressure. These alkaloids were also found in periwinkle, and in 1950 a new alkaloid, vincamine, was isolated from it. These alkaloids are similar in structure and action to rauwolfia alkaloids. And even reserpine (rauwolfia alkaloid) was isolated from pink periwinkle.

Ursolic acid and other active substances are found in some periwinkles. In the herb periwinkle - V. herbacea, in addition to alkaloids with hypotensive activity, the presence of rutin was revealed. In the treatment of hypertension, rutin is often prescribed along with antihypertensive drugs; therefore, the natural combination of these substances in the herbaceous periwinkle is of great interest for further study of it as a reversible medicinal plant.

Pink periwinkle (Vinca Rosea Linn L.) contains antitumor alkaloids that have a cytostatic effect. Of these, vinblastine, vincristine and vinorelbine are classified as vital and essential medicines.

Herb periwinkle (Vinca herbacea)
Herb periwinkle (Vinca herbacea)

The use of periwinkle in traditional medicine

Periwinkle has been used in medicine for a long time, and ancient authors, Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides, also mentioned it as a remedy. In China, pink periwinkle is part of the recipe for the treatment of hypertension. In the folk medicine of the Caucasus, periwinkle is used as an astringent, hemostatic, pane-healing and blood-purifying agent.

In scientific medicine, vincamine is used as an antihypertensive alkaloid. The periwinkle is often bred in gardens and parks as an ornamental plant, and varieties with golden and silver variegated leaves, as well as double flowers, have been bred. It is grown mainly in flower bed borders. The periwinkle gained great popularity at the end of the 18th century, after Jean Jacques Rousseau mentioned it in the widely known autobiographical work Confession.

The fame of Rousseau's book was very great, everyone read it, and with it the fame of the periwinkle grew. Many wanted to admire the Rousseau flower and rushed to the botanical gardens, mountains and copses, looking for a blue periwinkle with bright evergreen foliage. After the death of Rousseau, in his homeland in Geneva, a monument was erected on a picturesque island in the middle of a lake, and his beloved periwinkle was planted at its foot.

The unfading green of the periwinkle and its exceptional vitality attracted attention back in the Middle Ages. He was credited with miraculous power, considered him a symbol of eternity and constancy. At a time when superstition reigned, it was believed that he protects from the power of the devil, all evil spirits and from the evil wiles of witches.

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