Common name: Lesser periwinkle
Botanical name: Vinca minor Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Lesser periwinkle - a perennial evergreen herb with creeping stems reaching
30 inches long. The plants often form a thick mat. Glossy, dark green, oval to
oblong leaves, 2 inches long, grow in pairs on short leafstalks. The single
blue to violet or, rarely, white flowers (May-June) rise from the leaf axils
and produce two small slender seedpods.
In addition to its antihemorrhaging qualities, lesser periwinkle has been named
as an astringent, as a remedy for "nervous disorders," and as a treatment for
high blood pressure.
Like many herbs, periwinkle once had ties with magic and superstition.
Supposedly the herb could ward off evil spirits, and in some places lesser
periwinkle was held that no witch would dare enter a home where it hung at the
entrance. In France the flower of lesser periwinkle is sometimes referred to
as violette des sorciers, or "violet of the sorcerers."