Glechoma hederacea L.
Glechoma hederacea L. var. micrantha Moric.
Glechoma hederacea L. var. parviflora (Benth.) House
Nepeta hederacea (L.) Trevis.
Ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, run-away-robin
Ground-ivy is not a North American native, but after its introduction from Europe and southwestern Asia, it has become widespread. It is a member of the mint family.
Identification: Ground-ivy has round or kidney-shaped leaves with scalloped edges, ⅜-1¼" (9.5-31 mm) in diameter, attached in opposing pairs to a stem that is roughly square in cross-section. Often only 3" (7.6 cm) tall, it sometimes reaches 12" (30 cm). Flowers are blue, purple, or lavender, occurring in groups of 3. The flower shape is unusual. A small upper petal is divided into two lobes. A larger lower petal has a lobe on either side, and a large bottom lobe that is divided into two more lobes. Each flower is ⅜-½" (9.5-12 mm) across. These plants commonly appear in lawns, and have a strong scent when crushed.
Some similar species:
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|Plant||Forms loose mats. Plants are 6-9" (15-22 cm) in height.||Often only 3" (7.6 cm) tall, it sometimes reaches 12" (30 cm). Extends horizontally, hence the term “ivy.”||4-16" (10-40 cm) high, and somewhat hairy.|
|Flowers||Blue, appearing from May to Jun.||Flowers are blue, purple, or lavender, occurring in groups of 3. The flower shape is unusual. A small upper petal is divided into two lobes. A larger lower petal has a lobe on either side, and a large bottom lobe that is divided into two more lobes. Each flower is ⅜-½" (9.5-12 mm) across.||Flowers are ¼-¾" (6.3-19 mm), appearing from Mar to Oct. They are pink to red to purple in color.|
|Leaves||Dark green with purple highlights, opposite, and simple, sometimes toothed.||Round or kidney-shaped, with scalloped edges, ⅜-1¼" (9.5-31 mm) in diameter.||Toothed, round or kidney-shaped, deeply and irregularly veined, and ¼-1¼" (6.3-31 mm). Each stem node has two opposite leaves, and each succeeded pair is rotated 90° from the last. Upper, younger leaves often have a red-violet tinge.|
|Stem||Square in cross-section.||Stems are 4-angled and glabrous.|
USDA Zones: 3-10
|Habitats||Damp grassy fields, damp woods.||Moist ground, woods, slopes, roadsides, waste places, lawns||Fields, weedy places, gardens.|
Glechoma hederacea on Missouriplants.com
Glechoma hederacea on spes.vt.edu
Glechoma hederacea on Wikipedia
Glechoma hederacea on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Glechoma hederacea at Illinois Wildflowers
Glechoma hederacea on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 50
Glechoma hederacea description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.