periwinkle flower meaning

Periwinkle Flower Meaning and Symbolism of Vinca

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Curious about the periwinkle (vinca) flower meaning? Here’s what you should know.

Periwinkle flowers are a type of flower that is found in many gardens. The periwinkle meaning can be interpreted in different ways depending on the color of the flowers and how they are used. While some people believe that the blue periwinkle symbolizes hope, others believe it represents love or loss.

Sometimes referred to as the lesser periwinkle or dwarf periwinkle, Vinca minor is sometimes also called creeping myrtle, myrtle, small periwinkle, and common periwinkle. It’s a plant of many names – but what do all these names truly mean?

This article will detail the deeper symbolism of the plant.

What is the Etymological Meaning of the Periwinkle Flower?

red periwinkle

The periwinkle flower is a symbol of faithfulness and trust. It’s also symbolic in Christian art for the virtue of chastity. There are several potential etymological meanings of the name.

The periwinkle flower is a small flowering plant that has been in existence for over 200 years. The name “periwinkle” likely comes from the French word “poule-de-roche,” which means “Rock Dove.” This moniker was given to this particular flower because of the blue color, which resembles the color of a dove’s feathers.

However, you could also argue that the word “periwinkle” comes from the French word “pourpre,” meaning purple, which was used to describe this delicate looking flower with its blue-lavender petals and white center. 

The name periwinkle came about due to early English botanists who thought that it resembled the look of a type of shellfish called Periwinkles, or winkles.

Despite the debate surrounding the common name, Vinca is a genus of flowering plants in the Apocynaceae family. The Vinca genus, as a whole, is said to include fllowers that symbolize true love, great memories, and new friendships. They’re great flowers to give to any loved one!

Vinca major, what we call periwinkle, differs from Vinca minor only in the shapes and sizes of the plants’ leaves. Both are shade-loving ground covers. Vinca comes from the Latin word which means to bind or fetter, which makes sense given the sprawling, inclusive nature of these plants.

Other Interesting Facts About the White Periwinkle Flower

First things first- it’s not just found in white. There are other colors to choose from, too, including purple, pink, and rose periwinkle (Vinca rosea) blooms. There’s even a blue periwinkle flower and the less common Madagascar periwinkle!

With its dark green foliage, this plant is absolutely gorgeous, making it a common fixture in wedding decor. It has small petals that bloom best in partial sun. The plant produces foliage that grows in a low growing green layer, which is hard to distinguish from the leaf litter!

But once you notice the beautiful, diminutive bloom, you’ll know you’ve found periwinkle flowers.

Other periwinkle flower facts?

A member of the dogbane family, this plant was once cultivated often in the Middle East and northwest Africa, prized for its ornamental and medicinal purposes. It was said to have the ability to treat a sore throat and was used often during the Middle Ages as well as throughout much of European history.

Today, it’s not used as often as a herbal supplement, though it has been researched as a potential cancer treatment and for addressing serious liver conditions and even kidney damage, among other medicinal purposes.

It has meaningful botanical characteristics as an herbal remedy. Aside from that, it’s gorgeous as a landscaping plant. It spreads quickly, making it a good bedding plant, and its five small petals offer breathtaking beauty all through the spring.

What Do Periwinkle Flowers Symbolize? 

white periwinkle

For centuries, periwinkle flowers have been a symbol of hope. In medieval times, it was said that if you picked up the flower and smelled it while in prison, your jailer would set you free. The blue-purple hue of this delicate little flower is also thought to represent faithfulness as well as love and affection. 

These beautiful blossoms are often given to someone who has suffered a loss in an act of comfort or support. It’s also customary for people planning a wedding to include a periwinkle on their bouquet for luck when they tie the knot.

Periwinkle flowers also have a long history of representing love, protection, and loyalty. Periwinkle flowers are the national flower of Georgia. It can even symbolize strength and purity. There is no shortage of positive connotations expressed by this flower!

On a darker note, periwinkle flowers are often referred to as the “flowers of death” because their vines were once worn in headbands placed on dead children as well as criminals headed to the executioners.

What is the Cultural Significance of a Periwinkle?

pink periwinkle flowers

Periwinkle flowers have cultural significance that goes back a very long time – thousands of years – serving as a medicinal and religious symbol in the Old and Middle English eras as well as the Victorian Era – and perhaps even further back than that.

Periwinkle flowers are commonly grown as ground covers in temperate gardens, offering evergreen foliage throughout most of the year – foliage that smothers most kinds of weeds! In the United States, it was once planted in cemeteries to indicate gravesites when other markers were damaged or had disappeared. 

As mentioned earlier, the plant has numerous medicinal uses, containing more than 50 different alkaloids like vincamine. Vincamine is often harvested and sold for its nootropic effects. 

Due to its historical and cultural significance, it’s a great way to celebrate fond memories and to remember the past fondly!

What is the Symbolism of a Periwinkle Tattoo?

Periwinkle tattoos are often associated with the color blue and are thought to represent hope, peace, and tranquility. It can also symbolize the freshness of springtime.

This tattoo is also a symbol of faithfulness, devotion, and sincerity. The meaning behind this ink is that the person wearing it will always remain true to their word and never waiver on promises they make.

The color of a periwinkle flower tattoo is often symbolic and can have different meanings depending on the shade. For example, if you are looking for a symbol of hope or optimism, then blue is your best bet. A darker shade of blue would represent tranquility while lighter shades could be used to show appreciation for someone in your life.

When Should You Give Someone a Periwinkle Flower?

Some people may think that giving someone a periwinkle flower is just an ordinary gesture, but there are many different reasons why you might want to give this type of flower as a gift.

For example, if someone has been through something traumatic or stressful in their life and needs some encouragement to get over it, then the perfect way would be with a periwinkle flower — because its meaning is for “peace.”

There are many other meanings behind giving someone a periwinkle flower, too, making this a great plant for any occasion.

Because this flower symbolizes fond memories and long lasting love, it’s also a great choice for Mother’s Day and similar special occasions.

Whether it’s because you’re feeling nostalgic, want to show appreciation, or need some closure and time apart from your partner, the periwinkle is versatile enough for any situation.

Simply put, this is a great flower for just about any situation. Let its beautiful flowers, with their gorgeous star shape and tubular center colors, share whatever symbolic meaning you’re hoping to convey!

*image by [email protected]/depositphotos

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