Periwinkle Symbolism in the Language of Flowers

The Periwinkle flower (Vinca) is rich in history, meaning, and symbolism. Periwinkle is a shared name for Catharanthus roseus and species in the Vinca genus. These plants are all grown for medicinal and ornamental purposes around the world. Keep reading to learn about Periwinkle flowers. We’ll discuss their symbolism throughout history to common meanings today. 

Periwinkle Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance

Periwinkle Flower Symbolism – Key Takeaways

In the language of flowers, periwinkles carry the symbolic meaning of faith, trust, and everlasting love. In Christianity, the Periwinkle flower represents chastity and purity. Some also see it as a symbol of new beginnings or friendships. 

Etymological Meaning

The etymological meaning of Periwinkle can be linked to the Latin word pervincire, which means to bind or entwine. This connection makes sense given the Periwinkle plant’s vining growth habit. 

Common Periwinkle Flower Colors and Their Meaning

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Periwinkle Flowers

The color you likely associate with Periwinkle flowers is a pale shade of blueish purple. This hue symbolizes a sense of calm or serenity. It can also represent new friendships or fond memories.

The white Periwinkle flower will often take on a meaning of purity or innocence. Periwinkle flowers of all shades, including pink and deep red, can represent everlasting love. 

Religious Meaning of Periwinkle Flowers

In Christianity, the Periwinkle flower is often associated with chastity and purity. It also appears in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary. 

Cultural Symbolism of Periwinkle Flowers

In France, the Periwinkle flower has an interesting nickname: Violette des sorciers. In English, this translates to the Sorcerer’s Violet. 

The old English name of Periwinkle flowers was Parwynke. You can find this word in the works of Chaucer and other authors as far back as the early sixteenth century.

Other Periwinkle References Throughout History

The Romans knew Periwinkle by the name Pervinca, and it took similar names throughout history in other cultures. For example, find the word for Periwinkle in this medieval English saying: 

“Crowned one with laurel leaves hye on his head set other with pervink made for the giblet.”

Some say this rhyme refers to a ritual where condemned people wore Periwinkle flowers on their heads. 

Periwinkle Flowers in Art and Literature

Periwinkle flowers haven’t made many notable appearances in art and literature. However, the purple-blue hue known as periwinkle has stood out in various artistic movements. For example, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies shows how this color captured natural scenes during the impressionist period.

Meaning of Periwinkle Flowers Today

Today, Periwinkle flowers are popular in floral arrangements for events. In fact, they are an especially trendy choice in wedding decor. That’s because these flowers can act as the ‘something blue’ that many brides desire as a part of the age-old wedding tradition. 

Suitable Gifting Occasions

Periwinkle flowers look lovely when arranged in a bouquet with other springtime florals. Arrange them with white roses and eucalyptus as a gift for Mother’s day, graduation flowers, or welcoming a new baby

Periwinkle Flower FAQs:

What do Periwinkle flowers symbolize?

Periwinkle flowers symbolize everlasting love, trust, and faith. Some religions have also used the flower to symbolize chastity and purity.

Do Periwinkle flowers come back every year?

No, Periwinkle flowers are considered annuals in most climates. However, in some areas, they can self-seed and grow the following year again.

What do Periwinkle flowers smell like? 

Periwinkle flowers are not known for their fragrance.

What are Periwinkle flowers used for?

Periwinkle flowers are grown for ornamental and medicinal purposes around the world. Some use the plant to soothe issues like throat soreness and stomach issues. However, remember that this plant is considered toxic to humans and pets.

What pollinators do Periwinkle flowers attract? 

Periwinkle flowers attract various types of bees. They may attract some types of butterflies as well.

Are Periwinkle flowers poisonous to humans and animals?

Yes, Vinca plants, especially Catharanthus roseus, are poisonous to animals and humans. They may cause issues like stomach issues and nausea if consumed.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the delicate Periwinkle flower has taken on many meanings dating back hundreds of years. Today, it’s a great flower to give as part of a bouquet or grow for landscaping purposes. Enjoy this species however you’d like, and allow it to symbolize the meaning that feels best to you.


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