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Ground ivy

Botanical Name:

Glechoma hederacea

Common Name:

Ground ivy,Alehoffs,Cat's Foot,Creeping Charlie,Field Balm,Gill-over-the-hill,Ground-ivy,Hay Maids,Runaway Robin

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Description

Glechoma hederacea can be identified by its round to reniform (kidney or fan shaped), crenate (with round toothed edges) opposed leaves 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) diameter, on 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) long petioles attached to square stems which root at the nodes. The plant spreads either by stolon or seed, making it exceptionally difficult to eradicate. It is a variable species, its size being influenced by environmental conditions, from 5–50 cm (2.0–19.7 in) tall.Glechoma is sometimes confused with common mallow (Malva neglecta), which also has round, lobed leaves; but mallow leaves are attached to the stem at the back of a rounded leaf, where ground ivy has square stems and leaves which are attached in the center of the leaf, more prominent rounded lobes on their edges, attach to the stems in an opposite arrangement, and have a hairy upper surface. In addition, mallow and other creeping plants sometimes confused with ground ivy do not spread from nodes on stems. In addition, ground ivy emits a distinctive odor when damaged, being a member of the mint family. The flowers of Glechoma are bilaterally symmetrical, funnel shaped, blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and grow in opposed clusters of two or three flowers in the leaf axils on the upper part of the stem or near the tip. It usually flowers in the spring. Glechoma thrives in moist shaded areas, but also tolerates sun very well. It is a common plant in grasslands and wooded areas or wasteland. It also thrives in lawns and around buildings since it survives mowing. Part of the reason for its wide spread is its rhizomatous method of reproduction. It will form dense mats which can take over areas of lawn and woodland and thus is considered an invasive or aggressive weed in suitable climates where it is not native.

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Taxonomy

Order

Lamiales

Family

Lamiaceae

Genus

Glechoma

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Spring, Summer

Plant Type

Perennial, Weed, Wildflower

Lifespan

Perennial

Flower

Three to seven blue-violet, half inch, tubular shaped flowers in whorls in leaf axis; corolla is two-lipped; lower lip has three lobes. Clusters of flowers develop from the leaf axils. The corolla of each flower is narrow at the base, but flares outward like a trumpet into spreading lobes. There is a notched upper lobe, a notched lower lobe, and 2 smaller side lobes. The lower lobe is larger than the others and functions as a landing pad for visiting insects. It has darker violet lines that function as nectar guides. Within the throat of the corolla, there are fuzzy hairs. Each flower has a single pistil with a divided style, 2 long stamens, and 2 short stamens. The pubescent calyx is about 1/3 the length of the tubular corolla, with 15 veins running along its length and 5 teeth along its outer edge.

Fruit

Upon maturity, each flower is replaced by 4 dark brown nutlets. Each nutlet is ovoid, with 2 flat sides and an outer side that is rounded.

How to Grow

Sunlight

Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day), Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight), Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)

Benefits
Attracts

Pollinators

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