periwinkle


periwinkle
periwinkle1
/per"i wing'keuhl/, n.
1. any of various marine gastropods or sea snails, esp. Littorina littorea, used for food in Europe.
2. the shell of any of these animals.
[1520-30; perh. reflecting (through assimilation to PERIWINKLE2) OE pinewincle, equiv. to pine ( < L pina < Gk pîna, var. of PÍNNA kind of mollusk) + wincle, c. dial. Dan vinkel snail shell]
periwinkle2
periwinkled, adj.
/per"i wing'keuhl/, n.
1. Also called myrtle. a trailing plant, Vinca minor, of the dogbane family, having glossy, evergreen foliage and usually blue-violet flowers.
2. any of several similar plants of the genus Vinca or Catharanthus.
[bef. 1000; earlier pervinkle, perwinkle, alter. (see -LE) of ME perwinke, pervinke < AF pervenke (OF pervenche) < LL pervinca, L vi(n)capervi(n)ca; cf. OE peruince, MHG ber(e)winke < LL pervinca]

* * *

I
In botany, any of various plants of the genus Vinca of the dogbane family.

The lesser periwinkle (V. minor), which has small lilac-blue flowers, is a dependable, trailing, evergreen perennial that is native to Europe and has become widespread over much of eastern North America. The greater periwinkle (V. major), with larger leaves and larger purplish-blue flowers, is native to continental Europe and has become naturalized in England. Alkaloids derived from the periwinkle plant have had some success in inhibiting cancer growth.
II
In zoology, any of some 80 species (family Littorinidae) of widely distributed, chiefly herbivorous shore snails.

Periwinkles are usually found on rocks, stones, or pilings between high-and low-tide marks. The common periwinkle (Littorina littorea), the largest northern species, may grow to 1.5 in. (4 cm) long. It is usually dark gray and has a solid spiral shell. Introduced into North America с 1857, it is now common on Atlantic coasts. All periwinkle species are a favourite food of many shorebirds.

Periwinkles (Littorina)

Jane Burton
Bruce Coleman Ltd.

* * *

▪ marine snail
 in zoology, any small marine snail belonging to the family Littorinidae (class Gastropoda, phylum Mollusca). Periwinkles are widely distributed shore (littoral) snails, chiefly herbivorous, usually found on rocks, stones, or pilings between high- and low-tide marks; a few are found on mud flats, and some tropical forms are found on the prop roots or mangrove trees. Of the approximately 80 species in the world, 10 are known from the western Atlantic. The common periwinkle, Littorina littorea, is the largest, most common and widespread of the northern species. It may reach a length of 4 centimetres (1 1/2 inches), is usually dark gray, and has a solid spiral (turbinate) shell that readily withstands the buffeting of waves. Widespread along the rocky shores of northern Europe, the common periwinkle was introduced into North America at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in about 1857 and has spread as far south as Maryland. It is very common on the rocky shores of New England and also occurs on shallow muddy bottoms, along the banks of tidal estuaries, and among the roots and blades of marsh grass where the water is only moderately salty.

      The breeding habits of periwinkles are quite variable. L. saxatilis, which lives high up on rocks and is often out of water for long periods of time, holds its embryos in a brood sac until the young are fully developed, at which time they emerge as tiny crawling replicas of the adult. L. littorea releases its embryos in transparent, saucer-shaped egg cases, which eventually release veliger larvae. Other species deposit their embryos with gelatinous egg masses onto rocks and other hard substrates.

      All species in the Littorinidae are important as a favourite food of many shore birds, particularly ducks.

      Certain other marine snails, such as the common northern lacuna (Lacuna vincta), are sometimes called periwinkles. In many sections of the southern United States, the term periwinkle, or pennywinkle, is applied to any small freshwater snail.

plant
 in botany, any of various plants of the genus Vinca of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae). The name periwinkle is possibly taken from pervinka, the Russian name of the flower, which in turn is derived from pervi, “first,” as it is one of the first flowers of spring. The lesser periwinkle (V. Minor), with lilac-blue flowers, 2 centimetres (3/4 inch) across, an evergreen, trailing perennial, is native to Europe and is found in the British Isles. Introduced into North America, it is now widespread over much of the eastern continent. The similar greater periwinkle (V. major), with purplish-blue flowers, 2 1/2 to 5 cm across, native to continental Europe, has become naturalized in England.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Periwinkle — is...;Flora and fauna * Periwinkle (mollusc) * A regional term for the gravel encased larva of the Caddisfly * Periwinkle (plant), two related genera: ** Catharanthus (Madagascar periwinkles) ** Vinca (European periwinkles) * Periwinkle (color),… …   Wikipedia

  • periwinkle — periwinkle1 [per′ə wiŋ΄kəl] n. [ME pervinke < OE peruince < L pervinca, periwinkle < pervincire, to entwine, bind < per (see PER1) + vincire, to bind, fetter < IE base * weig : see WEAK] any of a genus (Vinca) of trailing or erect …   English World dictionary

  • Periwinkle — Per i*win kle, n. [OE. pervenke, AS. pervince, fr. L. pervinca.] (Bot.) A trailing herb of the genus {Vinca}. [1913 Webster] Note: The common perwinkle ({Vinca minor}) has opposite evergreen leaves and solitary blue or white flowers in their… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Periwinkle — Per i*win kle, n. [From AS. pinewincla a shellfish, in which pine is fr. L. pina, pinna, a kind of mussel, akin to Gr. ?. Cf. {Winkle}.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any small marine gastropod shell of the genus Littorina. The common European species ({Littorina… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • periwinkle — [1] ► NOUN ▪ a plant with flat five petalled flowers and glossy leaves. ORIGIN Latin pervinca …   English terms dictionary

  • periwinkle — {{11}}periwinkle (1) evergreen plant, c.1500, dim. of parvink (12c.), from O.E. perwince, from L.L. pervinca periwinkle (4c.), from L., from pervincire to entwine, bind, from per thoroughly (see PER (Cf. per)) + vincire to bind, fetter (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • periwinkle — I. noun Etymology: Middle English perwinke, from Old English perwince, from Vulgar Latin *pervinca, short for Latin vincapervinca Date: before 12th century 1. any of several trailing or woody evergreen herbs of the dogbane family: as a. (1) a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • periwinkle — UK [ˈperɪˌwɪŋk(ə)l] / US noun Word forms periwinkle : singular periwinkle plural periwinkles 1) a) [countable] a small blue or white flower b) [uncountable] the colour of a blue periwinkle 2) [countable] a small sea creature that lives in a shell …   English dictionary

  • periwinkle — I. /ˈpɛriwɪŋkəl / (say pereewingkuhl) noun 1. any of various marine gastropods or sea snails, especially Littorina littorea, used for food. 2. the shell of any of various other small univalves. {Middle English pervinkle, from Germanic} II.… …   Australian English dictionary

  • periwinkle — SYN: Vinca rosea. * * * per·i·win·kle per i .wiŋ kəl n any of several trailing or woody evergreen plants of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) esp ROSY PERIWINKLE * * * peri·win·kle (perґe wing″kəl) 1. any of several woody herbs of the… …   Medical dictionary