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Vascular Plants of California
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Vinca major

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ApocynaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, tree, often vine; sap generally milky. Leaf: simple, alternate, opposite, subwhorled to whorled, entire; stipules 0 or small, finger-like. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal, cyme, generally umbel- or raceme-like, or flowers 1--2. Flower: bisexual, radial; perianth parts, especially petals, overlapped, twisted to right or left, at least in bud; sepals generally 5, fused at base, often reflexed, persistent; petals generally 5, fused in basal +- 1/2; stamens generally 5, attached to corolla tube or throat, alternate lobes, free or fused to form filament column and anther head, filament column then generally with 5 free or fused, +- elaborate appendages abaxially, pollen +- free or removed in pairs of pollinia; nectaries 0 or near ovaries, then 2 or 5[10], or in stigmatic chambers; ovaries 2, superior or +- so, free [fused]; style tips, stigmas generally fused into massive pistil head. Fruit: 1--2 follicles, (capsule), [berry, drupe]. Seed: many, often with tuft of hairs at 1 or both ends.
Genera In Family: 200--450 genera, 3000--5000 species: all continents, especially tropics, subtropical South America, southern Africa; many ornamental (including Asclepias, Hoya, Nerium, Plumeria, Stapelia); cardiac glycosides, produced by some members formerly treated in Asclepiadaceae, used as arrow poisons, in medicine to control heart function, and by various insects for defense. Note: Asclepiadaceae ("asclepiads"), although monophyletic, included in Apocynaceae because otherwise the latter is paraphyletic. Complexity of floral structure, variation in asclepiads arguably greatest among all angiosperms. Pattern of carpel fusion (carpels free in ovule-bearing region, fused above), present +- throughout Apocynaceae (in broad sense), nearly unknown in other angiosperms. Base chromosome number generally 11; abundance of latex, generally small size of chromosomes evidently have impeded cytological investigations.
eFlora Treatment Author: Thomas J. Rosatti, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: VincaView Description 

Habit: Perennial herb, +- glabrous (except ciliate leaf, sepal margins). Leaf: opposite to subopposite. Inflorescence: flowers generally 1 in leaf axils. Flower: calyx lobes long, slender; corolla tube funnel-shaped, lobes asymmetric; filaments free, attached near top of corolla tube, sharply bent near base, unappendaged, anthers held around top of but free from stigma, each partly sterile, pollen +- free; nectaries 2, alternate ovaries, wide-spaced, generally not exceeding ovaries; style cylindric, widened distally, stigma skirted at base. Seed: glabrous.
Etymology: (Latin: possibly, to bind or wind about)
Unabridged Note: 2n=46 in Vinca minor, Homo sapiens, and Lepus europaeus (and other hares), not suggesting a close relationship among these taxa, yet supporting the idea that classification should be based on more than one kind of evidence.
eFlora Treatment Author: Thomas J. Rosatti & Lauramay T. Dempster
Unabridged Reference: Taylor & Farnsworth 1973 The Vinca alkaloids
Vinca major L.
Habit: Plant sprawling. Stem: arching, rooting at tips. Leaf: petiole generally < 1 cm; blade +- 7 cm, ovate, base +- truncate, tip acute. Flower: corolla 3--5 cm wide at top, purple-blue (white). Fruit: curved, rare. Chromosomes: 2n=90,92.
Ecology: Coastal bluffs, sheltered places, especially along stream beds; Elevation: 2--1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, NCoRO, n SN, ScV, CCo, SnFrB, s SCoRO, SCo, SnGb, SnBr, PR; Distribution Outside California: southern United States; native probably to Europe. Flowering Time: Mar--Jun(Jan) Note: Cult.
Jepson eFlora Author: Thomas J. Rosatti & Lauramay T. Dempster
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Vinca major
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Botanical illustration including Vinca major

botanical illustration including Vinca major

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Citation for this treatment: Thomas J. Rosatti & Lauramay T. Dempster 2012, Vinca major, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on March 03, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on March 03, 2024.

Vinca major
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©2009 Barry Breckling
Vinca major
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©2007 Neal Kramer
Vinca major
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©2009 Barry Rice
Vinca major
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©2009 Barry Breckling
Vinca major
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©2016 Keir Morse

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Geographic subdivisions for Vinca major:
NCo, NCoRO, n SN, ScV, CCo, SnFrB, s SCoRO, SCo, SnGb, SnBr, PR
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).