The Periwinkle

Vinca minor L.

It is an evergreen, trailing shrub attaining a height of 20 cm. The leaves are leathery, dark green and glossy. The plant blooms in June. The flowers are blue, comprising of 5 petals solitary in the leaf axils. The plant is poisonous. Infusions from leaves were used as a remedy for speeding up a process of healing wounds, what is more interesting, they were also applied on viper’s bites. Periwinkle was a symbol of immortality, therefore the Easter baskets were ornamented with its flowers. It accompanied the funeral ceremonies and was planted on graves. Unmarried women were laid in a coffin, wearing a garland of periwinkle. At the same time, the flowers were  an inseparable element of a wedding ceremony, the bride’s garland had some periwinkle flowers woven into. Just before a wedding  reception,  the cottages were decorated with periwinkle flowers woven into wreaths. A motif of  periwinkle appears in many traditional folk songs. Having been an important plant, the shrub was planted in home gardens. It was worth having this plant close at hand.