Plant Assessment Form

Vinca major

Synonyms: Vinca pubescenes, Vinca major var.variegata

Common Names: periwinkle; bigleaf periwinkle; greater periwinkle; blue periwinkle; myrtle

Evaluated on: 8/17/04

List committee review date: 16/05/2005

Re-evaluation date:


Mark Newhouser/Project Coordinator, Arundo Eradication and Coordination Project
Sonoma Ecology Center
205 First Street West Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 996-0712 ext.113
Peter J. Warner; ecologist
California State Parks
P. O. Box 603, Little River, CA 95456
707-937-9172; 707-937-2278

List committee members

Carla Bossard
Joe DiTomaso
Cynthia Roye
Jake Sigg
Peter Warner
Matt Brooks

General Comments

No general comments for this species

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Moderate
Alert Status? No Alert
Documentation? 2.5 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes B Other Published Material
Four-part score BABD Total Score
1.2 ?Impact on plant community A. Severe Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels B. Moderate Observational
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment B. Moderate Other Published Material
Total Points
13 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management A. Increases rapidly Observational
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state B. Increasing less rapidly
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal A. High Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal U. Unknown
2.7 ?Other regions invaded C. Already invaded Reviewed Scientific Publication
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
A. Widespread Observational
Total Score B
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
D. Very low Observational

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? B Other Published Material
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

Alters natural erosional processes along drainages, thus altering hydrology (1).

Sources of information:

Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Once established vinca forms a dense carpet where it excludes native herbs and outcompetes native vegetation, (1,2,3,4). Areas infested with vinca can have root masses that extend several feet into the ground. In Contra Costa County, Trillium ovatum would disappear from the area one to two years after vinca invaded (5). Comparative studies on vinca found that all native and non-native plants except walnut and box elder occurred in lower densities within plots invaded with vinca compared to uninvaded plots (6). Vinca grows quickly in moist soil and spreads rapidly.

Sources of information:

Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? B Observational
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Sources of information:

1. Warner, PJ. 1996-2005. Personal observations from Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties. 707-937-2278/
E-mail from Kendra Baumgartner, grapevine pathologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, UC Davis. 3/7/05. In Cal-IPC files.

Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Reviewed Scientific Publication

Unlikely impacts on native taxa. no closely related (congeneric) taxa in California

Sources of information:

Hickman, JC. 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California.

Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
A Observational
Describe role of disturbance:

Clearing of understory vegetation and earthwork activities encourage establishment. Vinca has also been widely used as a ground cover and has escaped cultivation.

Sources of information:

Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? A Observational
Describe rate of spread:

In Huckleberry Regional Preserve, filled a drainage from plantings at the top of the ridge within ten years (1). Spreads very fast in Russian River corridor (2). Populations rapidly expand during wet periods (3).

Sources of information:

1. E-mail from Charli Danielsen, California Native Plant Society, 2/15/05
2. E-mail from Karen Gaffney, Restoration Ecologist, Circuit Rider Productions, Sonoma County. 2/15/05
3. Drewitz 2000

Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? B
Describe trend:

Common in Russian River corridor and invading other river systems and coastal scrub on the North Coast (1). One source indicated that extent of vinca on a preserve was increasing but, more monitoring needed to be done to determine the rate of spread (2).

Sources of information:

1. E-mail from Karen Gaffney, Restoration Ecologist, Circuit Rider Productions, 2/15/05
2.Bean, C., Russo M.J. TNC Element Stewardship Abstract. 1986

Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

Vinca spreads by arching stolons that root at the tip and by fragments that break off and are carried downstream and can root if they land in a suitable place.(1,2). Seedlings have been found in Contra Costa County (3) and on Santa Cruz Island (4).

Sources of information:

1. Bean, C., Russo M.J. TNC Element Stewardship Abstract. 1986.
2. DiTomaso J., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
3. E-mail from Charli Danielsen, California Native Plant Society, 2/15/05. In Cal-IPC files.
4. E-mail from Ken Owen, Santa Cruz Island Native Plant Restoration Project, 3/25/05. In Cal-IPC files.

Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Vinca is planted as a ground cover. Plants and fragments can be dispersed by humans through careless dumping of yard waste.

Sources of information:

Bean, C., Russo M.J. TNC Element Stewardship Abstract. 1986.
DiTomaso J., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished

Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? U
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Vinca is spread by planting and through fragments carried by flowing water.

Sources of information:

Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify other regions:

Vinca is found in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and in the southern and eastern US.

Sources of information:

DiTomaso J., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished

Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? A Observational

Invades riparian areas and coastal scrub (1). Occurs up to 610 feet elevation in most coastal counties, Central Valley, and desert region (2)

Sources of information:

1. E-mail from Karen Gaffney, Circuit Rider Productions, 2/15/05
2. Drewitz 2000
Personal observations from weed list committee

Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? D Observational
Describe distribution:

Sources of information:

Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Unknown
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter No
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. No
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually No
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years No
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination No
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes Yes
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere Yes
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned Yes
Total points: 4
Total unknowns: 1
Total score: B?

Related traits:

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrub
coastal scrubD, < 5%
Sonoran desert scrub
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairie
valley and foothill grassland
Great Basin grassland
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swampD, < 5%
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forestD, < 5%
riparian woodland
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)D, < 5%
Woodlandcismontane woodlandD, < 5%
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forestD, < 5%
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): A
Distribution (highest score): D

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions

  • CA Floristic Province
  • Cascade Range
  • Central West
  • Great Valley
  • Northwest
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Southwest
  • Modoc Plateau
  • Mojave Desert