The periwinkle: a color, a flower.
The periwinkle color, a sort of vaguely grayish light blue-violet, owes its name to the vinca flower. Vinca is a genus of plants belonging to the Apocynaceae family. It is native to Europe and the tropics and includes perennial, erect or creeping herbaceous species. The common name of this genus of plants is, like the color, periwinkle. The periwinkle is a seedling appreciated for the beautiful turf that it forms and for the beautiful blooms that begin in spring and continue throughout the summer. The origin of the scientific name is unknown: some sources indicate that it derives from the Latin vincire (= to tie), because one of its characteristics is the ability of the plant to anchor itself to the ground with a large number of roots; other sources believe that the name derives from vincus (= flexible), for its thin and flexible stems.
Origin and characteristics of the periwinkle
The genus vinca or, as it is commonly called, periwinkle, is native to Europe and the Tropics and includes seven species. Vinca is an evergreen, herbaceous or shrubby plant. It can be rustic or not, it can have a creeping or erect development. Its flowers bloom from spring to late summer. The flowers are tubular: they are formed by five elongated or rounded lobes of a color that varies according to the species and varieties. The varieties of the periwinkle are blue-lilac, purple or pink. The periwinkle is believed to be toxic because it contains vincristine, an alkaloid that blocks the formation of the mitotic spindle, essential for cell division without which the chromosomes fragment and the cell dies. If parts of the plant are taken, symptoms appear within the first 24 hours: nausea, vomiting and fever. Late symptoms appear in the first week and are headache, insomnia, delirium, hallucinations, neuropathies, convulsions and coma.