March 9th, 2012

Latin:  Vinca major

Irish:  Fincín mór

This is not a native plant and was probably brought toIrelandfrom southernEuropeas a garden plant.  It is usually found growing in hedges and roadsides and, typical of a garden escape, is often found close to old houses or ruins.

It is a hairless perennial with long, creeping stems that root at intervals.  The leaves are evergreen, glossy and grow in opposite pairs on the stem.  Flowers are produced as early as March and flowering may continue until June or July.  The flowers (30-35mm across) are produced singly, they have 5 petals that are a striking violet-blue and are united in the centre.

The stems of Vinca are used in basket making and the plant has been as very good ground cover for covering steep banks and shady places, spreading rapidly once established and forming a dense cover within 2 years.

The plant is also used for medicinal purposes and it has been established that Vinca contains the alkaloid ‘vincamine’, which is used by the pharmaceutical industry as a cerebral stimulant and vasodilator. It also contains ‘reserpine’, which reduces high blood pressure.


It is found in several of the flower beds and shrubberies around the course.  It is not readily apparent whether those plants are the result of deliberately planting or not.

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