Last Updated on November 27, 2023
Periwinkle flowers, with their delicate beauty and subtle charm, have always been a source of intrigue for me.
These dainty blossoms, known for their lovely shades of blue and purple, hold secrets of meaning and spiritual symbolism that span cultures and centuries.
In this article, I invite you to embark on a journey of discovery as we unravel the hidden stories and significance behind periwinkle flowers.
What Does The Periwinkle Mean?
The Periwinkle is sometimes referred to as the lesser Periwinkle or the dwarf Periwinkle. Many has known it as Vinca minor and is sometimes the small Periwinkle, the common Periwinkle, the myrtle, or the creeping myrtle.
It has ties with faithfulness and trust and in Christian art, it is a symbol of the virtue of chastity. Many also knows it for ornamental and medicinal purposes all over the world.
As mentioned, there is a whole other range of meanings which people attached to the Periwinkle. They can symbolize a blossoming friendship in the early stages or how you reminisce memories shared with an old friend.
Further, they can symbolize everlasting love and the purity and strength of the Virgin Mary. Whilst, also linking to your existence through eternity and extending time with what you love most in life.
They also evoke a sense of success and reaching your potential whilst achieving your dreams.
Etymological Meaning Of The Periwinkle
|‘Poule-de-Roche’||Blue as a dove|
|‘Periwinkle’||Resembles the shellfish|
The Periwinkle is a small flowering plant and has been around for over 200 years. Its name comes from the French, ‘poule-de-roche’, and this means ‘Rock Dove’.
They gave this moniker to this flower because of the blue color, representing the color of a dove’s feathers.
On the other hand, the name, Periwinkle came about as a result of the early English botanists who thought it resembled the shellfish, Periwinkle, or winkles.
The Periwinkle has been a key part of European history dating back thousands of years, which means it is only natural that the name derives from Latin Old and Middle English.
The flower was once named pervinca as a result of the Romans, and this evolved into the flower’s name today over the years.
Even though there is much debate around the common name, Vinca is a genus of plants belonging to the Apocynaceae family and comes from the Latin word, which means to fetter to bind.
This suits the Periwinkle due to its sprawling and inclusive nature. Vinca major differs from Vinca minor, but only because the side and shape of the plants’ leaves are different. Both species are shade-loving ground covers.
A species of the Periwinkle flowers are the Catharanthus roseus and they belong in the genus Catharanthus. They are the Madagascar Periwinkle, Pink Periwinkle, or the Rose Periwinkle.
The Caranthus genus is similar to the Vinca genus and the Caranthus roseus was known in the Vinca genus simply as Vinca rosea.
Both the Catharanthus and the vinca are part of the Apocynaceae family of plants. The dogbane family also recognized them.
The Symbolism Of The Periwinkle
Periwinkle in the Middle Ages:
Linked to the Virgin Mary.
Symbolized a blossoming new friendship and cherished memories.
Encourages trustworthiness and setting an example for others.
Remembering Loved Ones:
Emphasizes valuing the people who support you.
Symbol of Hope:
Encourages persistence, taking things one step at a time.
Reminds you to be yourself and avoid comparing to others.
Encourages caring for and protecting the environment and its creatures.
Periwinkle Color Meanings
As with most flowers, depending on the color, the symbolism might change accordingly. This is the case with Periwinkle’s and their meaning will vary, depending on the color of the petals.
Whilst this plant is not a birth flower, you can still match it to a person based on the following characteristics:
|White||Long-lasting love, special memories, purity|
|Blue||Purity, new beginnings|
|Pink||Romance, enduring love|
|Red||Love, strong emotions, passion|
- Symbolize long-lasting love, special memories, and purity.
- Associated with innocence and everlasting love.
- A reminder to appreciate loved ones and keep their memories close.
- Ideal for gifting to close individuals.
- Represent purity and the start of lasting friendships.
- Signify new beginnings and intentions.
- Suggest readiness for positive life changes.
- Suitable for gifting to close friends or new parents.
- Symbolize romance and the presence of love in the air.
- A sign of enduring love in a relationship.
- Encouragement to strengthen the bond with your partner.
- Best for occasions of love and happiness.
- Express love, strong emotions, and passion.
- Indicate a deep, unbreakable connection with your partner.
- A reminder to seek serenity in your love life.
- A heartfelt gift to show your love and appreciation.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Periwinkle
- Comprise five small petals that form a star shape with a tubular center.
- Petals are typically shades of purple, while Madagascar Periwinkle can be white, light pink with a red center, or purple-pink.
- Not known for their fragrance.
Planting And Growth:
- Best sown in the spring before winter arrives, but they can also be planted in the summer.
- Thrive in sunny locations with well-drained or fertile soil.
- Grow rapidly and can bloom for an extended period.
- Beginner-friendly as they require minimal care.
- Periwinkle is toxic, which prevents its use as an herb.
- Some individuals may use it as an herbal supplement, but it’s generally discouraged due to health risks.
- Potential Medicinal Research:
- Being investigated as a potential treatment for cancer.
- However, it carries the risk of causing severe liver and kidney damage, albeit rarely.
- Often used for decorative purposes rather than medicinal or culinary use due to its toxicity.
Special Occasions For The Periwinkle
Since the Periwinkle has so many meanings, there are so many ways you can gift it to someone and it makes a great plant to suit any occasion.
If someone has been through a stressful period in their life, a Periwinkle flower might be the perfect way to give them some encouragement to get over it, and it symbolizes peace.
Moreover, if you are feeling nostalgic or you want to show appreciation, or even if you want closure from your partner, the Periwinkle’s versatility makes it a suitable flower for each of these situations.
They are also seen at weddings or on other joyous occasions such as birthdays. You could gift them on Mother’s Day, or even on Valentine’s Day.
If you were gifting Periwinkles on Valentine’s Day, we suggest giving your loved one pink or red Periwinkles.
Periwinkle Cultural Significance
In Ukraine, the meaning of the Periwinkle is associated with folklore around themes of love and love that lasts through eternity.
It was given as a gift to newlyweds and this used to be a way of wishing them a long and happy marriage together. It is also used near candles in the hope the married couple will last longer.
As we have mentioned, in Christianity, there are links between the flower and the virtue of chastity. In Christian art, the flower is a sign you should remain pure and live a life where you strive for success.
This way, you will get places and appreciate the meaning of life and everything you encounter along the way.
The flowers are the national flowers for the people of Georgia and they are a representation of love and protection.
In certain cultures, they are referred to as the ‘flowers of death’. This is because their vines were used in headbands placed on dead children. The same headbands were places for criminals who were sentenced to death.
In the US, Periwinkles have been planted in cemeteries to indicate the gravesites of persons whose markers had been damaged or have disappeared.
Periwinkle Flower Facts
Periwinkle flowers, especially the white variety, symbolize everlasting love. They are often used in weddings and romantic occasions to represent the enduring nature of love.
Purity and Innocence:
White Periwinkles are associated with purity and innocence. They are given to convey the idea of pure and untarnished love.
Friendship and New Beginnings:
Blue Periwinkles symbolize the purity of intentions and the start of lasting friendships. They are often exchanged between friends as a symbol of the desire for a strong and pure friendship.
Pink Periwinkles are known as the flowers of romance. They signify the presence of romantic love in the air and are often exchanged between partners to reinforce their romantic.
Deep Affection and Passion
Red Periwinkles represent deep affection, strong emotions, and passion. They are given to express intense love and an unbreakable bond in a relationship.
Comfort and Support:
Periwinkle flowers, in all their colors, are often used to provide comfort and support to loved ones going through difficult times. They convey a message of care and empathy.
Sympathy and Condolence:
White Periwinkles can also symbolize sympathy and condolences, making them a suitable choice for expressing support during times of grief and loss.
These symbolic meanings associated with Periwinkle flowers make them a versatile choice for conveying a wide range of emotions and sentiments in various life situations.
Periwinkle Flower Uses
|Medicinal Uses||Source of alkaloids used in modern pharmaceuticals|
|Floral Use||Used in bouquets and floral arrangements for symbolic reasons|
|Botanical Features||Star-shaped flowers, evergreen foliage|
|Bee and Butterfly Attraction||Attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies|
As we have already mentioned, the flower has been used for medicinal purposes and as a herbal supplement, but this use does carry unnecessary risks.
The plant has countless medicinal uses however and contains over 50 different alkaloids such as vincamine. Vincamine is harvested and sold for nootropic effects.
The flower has also been used in a bouquet as a symbol of good luck at weddings to wish the bride and groom a happy marriage. However, the blossoms can also be gifted to those who might have suffered a loss.
The flowers can provide comfort and sympathy and they can tell the receiver that you are always there for them if they should ever need support or a shoulder to cry on.
What Is The Symbolism Of A Periwinkle Flower Tattoo?
|Blue||Hope, freshness, and springtime|
|Light Blue||Appreciation for close ones|
A Periwinkle tattoo often symbolizes determination. It symbolizes tranquility and peace. The tattoo is often drawn in blue and these tattoos are thought to represent hope, whilst also symbolizing the freshness of springtime.
A tattoo of a Periwinkle also symbolizes devotion, sincerity, and faithfulness. The meaning behind this is that the wearer of the tattoo will remain true to who they are and their word.
They will never waiver on their word and any promises they make to those around them.
The color of the Periwinkle tattoo is usually symbolic and depending on the shade of the design, it will have a different connotation. If you are looking for a symbol of optimism or hope, you should stick with a blue Periwinkle.
However, if you chose a darker shade of blue, this might represent tranquility, whereas lighter shades can show your appreciation for someone you hold close in life.
We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about Periwinkles and their symbolism.
Though they are small flowers, they hold a lot of important meanings and are perfect if you want to reach out and make new friendships, whilst also remembering the past fondly.
They remind you to hold on to things you cherish for as long as you can and spend as long as possible with those you love. It can be used as a decorative plant and can blossom for a long time, with little care.
Take advantage of this and if you are not gifting them to a loved one, why not treat yourself and decorate your home with this colorful quirky flower.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do Periwinkle flowers symbolize?
Periwinkle flowers symbolize a range of emotions and sentiments, including everlasting love, purity, innocence, deep affection, friendship, new beginnings, and hope.
The specific symbolism can vary depending on the flower’s color, such as white for purity and everlasting love, blue for friendship and new beginnings, pink for romantic love, and red for passion and strong emotions.
Are Periwinkle flowers used in weddings?
Yes, white Periwinkle flowers, with their symbolism of purity and everlasting love, are often used in weddings to convey the idea of enduring love and the pure intentions of the couple.
They may be incorporated into bridal bouquets, centerpieces, and decorations.
What occasions are suitable for gifting Periwinkle flowers?
Periwinkle flowers are suitable for a variety of occasions, including weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and times when you want to express deep affection, friendship, or sympathy. They can also be gifted to comfort and support loved ones during difficult times.
Can Periwinkle flowers be given to friends?
Yes, blue Periwinkle flowers symbolize the purity of intentions and lasting friendships. They are a thoughtful choice for gifting to friends to convey your desire for a strong and genuine friendship.
What do red Periwinkle flowers symbolize?
Red Periwinkle flowers symbolize deep affection, strong emotions, and passion. They are often given to express intense love and the unbreakable bond in a romantic relationship.
Are Periwinkle flowers associated with hope and new beginnings?
Yes, blue and pink Periwinkle flowers are linked to new beginnings and hope for a better future. They can represent the anticipation of positive life changes and fresh starts.
Can Periwinkle flowers be used for sympathy and condolences?
White Periwinkle flowers can also symbolize sympathy and condolences, making them a suitable choice for expressing support during times of grief and loss.
Do Periwinkle flowers have cultural significance?
Yes, Periwinkle flowers hold different symbolic meanings in various cultures, and their use in bouquets and gardens often carries cultural and regional significance. They are appreciated for their versatility in conveying emotions and sentiments.
Are Periwinkle flowers a popular choice for gardens and landscaping?
Yes, Periwinkle plants are popular in gardens and landscaping due to their attractive blooms and evergreen foliage. They are versatile, low-maintenance plants that can serve as ground cover and add color to garden beds.
Can Periwinkle flowers be used for expressing complex emotions?
Yes, Periwinkle flowers offer a means of expressing complex emotions and sentiments when words may not suffice. Their various colors and associated symbolism allow for versatile and heartfelt expressions.
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