Periwinkle Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

The Periwinkle might be easy to miss and you might even step over it at times. The flower is a diminutive bloom and is hidden right under a layer of leaf litter or foliage. If you are growing the plant or you want to send it to a loved one as a gift, you might be wondering what the flower symbolizes.

We’re here to tell you there are a lot of hidden meanings behind a Periwinkle and some are worth noting. We also look at meaningful botanical characteristics, cultural significance, and more, so read on to find out all you need to know about this small but mighty flower.

Periwinkle Flower Meaning

What Does The Periwinkle Mean?

The Periwinkle is sometimes referred to as the lesser Periwinkle or the dwarf Periwinkle. It is known as Vinca minor and is sometimes called 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. They are also known for ornamental and medicinal purposes all over the world. 

As we mentioned, there is a whole other range of meanings attached to the Periwinkle. They can symbolize a blossoming friendship in the early stages or how you are reminiscent of memories shared with an old friend.

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

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’. This moniker was given to this flower because of the blue color, representing the color of a dove’s feathers.

However, the name, ‘Periwinkle’ could also come from the French, ‘pourpre’, which means purple, and this was used to describe the flower’s blue-lavender color petals and its white center.

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 known as 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 and these were also recognized as the dogbane family.

The Symbolism Of The Periwinkle

The Periwinkle used to be a religious symbol and was linked to the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages. However, it is not uncommon to notice the small purple blossom peeking from stained glass windows.

In Victorian flower language, users used to associate it with the meaning of a blossoming new friendship. However, it also means sharing the recollection of memory you do not want to forget and a memory that brings you joy.

The flower symbolizes faithfulness. In your life, the flower reminds you to always be faithful and remain trustworthy to live the best possible life. You should make your life the best example that people can follow.

You should always aim to do things that consider other people and as you live your life, you should never forget the people who are always there for you. Keep these people close and treat them well. 

The Periwinkle is also a strong symbol of hope and urges you not to give up on life so easily. You should always take just one step at a time and appreciate that it takes time for great things to manifest in your life. You should always be patient and use your talents and gifts to progress further in life.

The Periwinkle reminds you to be honest with yourself and do things that work for you. Be yourself and do not compare your life with others. If you live your truth, nothing should hinder your progress.

Moreover, the flower wants you to acquire the sense of taking care of nature. Nature holds messages you should take note of. Never destroy nature, but instead do everything you can to save it. Protect the environment and the creatures living in it. 

Periwinkle Flower Meaning

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 flowers are linked to long-lasting love and special memories. The white Periwinkle also signifies purity and great memories. They symbolize innocence and everlasting love and they are a sign you should appreciate the people who play such a major role in your life and that you need to keep the memories of these people close to you always. Give the flowers to people you hold close. 
  • Light blue flowers also symbolize purity and the start of a blossoming friendship you want in your life forever. However, blue Periwinkles are also associated with new beginnings and intentions. You should be prepared for the changes that are about to take place in your life as they will occur to make your life better. You could gift these flowers to someone close to you or someone who has given birth to a newborn baby.
  • Pink Periwinkles are the flowers of romance. If you are gifted pink Periwinkles, it signifies love might be in the air. You should be happy and take advantage. It’s a sign of everlasting love that should be reinforced between your partner and yourself.
  • Similarly, red symbolizes love but also strong emotions and passion. You should have strong feelings for your partner and you have often formed an unbreakable and untouchable bond. Work towards achieving serenity in your love life. Red Periwinkles are great to gift to your partner to remind them of how much they mean to you.
  • All colors might be used for cheering up a loved one who is going through a hard time.

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Periwinkle

Periwinkle flowers are made up of five small petals and they connect at a tubular center to form a star shape. The vinca petals are usually a shade of purple and the Madagascar Periwinkle can either be white, light pink with a red center, or purple-pink. They are not known for their scent.

The flowers should be sown in the Spring and always before Winter approaches. However, they can be planted in the Summer too and they do well in the sun and in well-drained or fertile soil.

The plant grows fast and can blossom for a very long time. It’s also great for beginner gardeners as they do not require a lot of care.

The Periwinkle is poisonous and this prevents it from being used as a herb. Whilst some people do take the risk and rely on it as a herbal supplement, it is usually not worth it.

It is also being researched as a potential cancer treatment, yet it has the potential to cause serious liver and kidney damage, even on the rarest occasions. This is why most people simply stick to it as decoration.

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

  • The Periwinkle is known as Vinca
  • The flower has a star-shaped blue or purple flower
  • Some varieties of Periwinkle are white or lighter pink
  • It is common to be used as a bedding plant as it spreads quickly across the ground and forms a low-growing green layer. This layer does not need pruning or growing.

Periwinkle Flower Uses

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.

Periwinkle Flower Meaning

What Is The Symbolism Of A Periwinkle Flower Tattoo?

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. 

Final Thoughts

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.

Gloria White

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