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Vinca major is an evergreen trailing vine, spreading along the ground and rooting along the stems to form dense masses of groundcover individually 2-5 m across and scrambling up to 50-70 cm high. The leaves are opposite, nearly orbicular at the base of the stems and lanceolate at the apex, 3-9 cm long and 2-6 cm broad, glossy dark green with a leathery texture and an entire but distinctly ciliate margin, and a hairy petiole 1-2 cm long. The flowers are hermaphrodite, axillary and solitary, violet-purple, 3-5 cm diameter, with a five-lobed corolla. The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is 10–17 millimetres (0.39–0.67 in) long with hairy margins. The flowering period extends from early spring to autumn.
Vinca major prefers moist undergrowth, woodlands, hedgerows and banks along the rivers at an altitude of 0–800 metres (0–2,600 ft) above sea level. It grows well in full sun and in deep shade.