Glechoma hederacea-Ground Ivy

Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 4-22-19, #428-2.

Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie, Gill-Over-The-Ground, Alehoof, Turnhoof, Catsfoot, Field Balm, Run-Away-Robin, Etc.

Glechoma hederacea

gle-KOH-muh  hed-er-AYE-see-uh

Synonyms of Glechoma hederaceaHedera terrestris Garsault, Calamintha hederacea (L.) Scop., Chamaecissos hederaceus (L.) Nieuwl. & Lunell, Chamaeclema hederacea (L.) Moench, Glechoma borealis Salisb., Glechoma bulgarica Borbás, Glechoma heterophylla Opiz, Glechoma intermedia Schrad. ex Benth., Glechoma lobulata Kit., Glechoma longicaulis Dulac, Glechoma magna Mérat, Glechoma micrantha Boenn. ex Rchb., Glechoma repens Gilib., Glechoma rigida A.Kern., Glechoma rotundifolia Raf., Glechoma serbica Halácsy & Wettst., Glechonion hederaceum (L.) St.-Lag., Nepeta glechoma Benth., Nepeta glechoma var. hirsuta Benth., Nepeta hederacea (L.) Trevis., Nepeta rigida (A.Kern.) Beck

Glechoma hederacea L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Plants of the World Online lists seven species in the Glechoma genus (as of 3-2-20 when I am updating this page). It is a member of the Lamiaceae Family with 235 other genera. Those numbers are likely to change as updates are made.


Distribution map for Glechoma hederacea from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on March 2, 2020.

The above map from Plants of the World Online shows where Glechoma hederacea is native in green, introduced in purple and doubtful in gold.


Distribution map of Glechoma hederacea from the USDA Plants Database. Published on the internet at Retrieved on March 2, 2020.

The above distribution map for Glechoma hederacea in North America is from the USDA Plants Database. I included this map because it is different for North America to what POWO shows.

I will take more photos of this species flowers, leaves, and stems and write descriptions later. For now, please refer to the links at the bottom of the page for proper ID.


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 4-22-19, #428-3.

There are A LOT Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) and Lamium purpureum (Dead Nettle) in the yard which are easy to distinguish from one another. At a passing glance, when the Glechoma hederacea starts flowering you can mistake them for Henbit. In fact, when I first took these photos, I mistakenly wrote Lamium amplexicaule in the caption… I didn’t notice until I uploaded the observation on iNaturalist and a member mentioned it. GEEZ! I thought, “How could I have not noticed that?” Both Lamium species in the yard have similar leaves up to a point then they both change, usually when they begin to flower. The Glechoma hederacea have similarly shaped leaves but they don’t change… Trying to ID these three plants before they flower and their leaves change is very difficult especially since they are pretty much all growing together. They like the same conditions…


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-9.

I finally managed to take a few good photos of the Glechoma hederacea on March 21 so I can write a few descriptions. Glechoma hederacea is a perennial plant that is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring. The 4-angled stems grow to about 12” long (one site says 2 m but I think they messed up). The stems branch out, rooting at the nodes, allowing plants to form dense mats. 


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-10.

One neat thing I noticed is the hairs growing from the leaf nodes.


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-11.

The flowers are very small so I had to use two magnifying glasses in front of the lens to get close-up. That can also be a challenge but practice makes perfect (and A LOT of photos). The flowers are pretty neat and information says they form in clusters of 2-6 from the upper leaf nodes. 2-6? Maybe that depends on where you look… Missouri Plants gives quite a lengthy description but Illinois Wildflowers is easier to understand.


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-12.

As I mentioned earlier, just walking by these plants in your yard they can easily be mistaken for Lamium amplexicaule. If you take a closer look you can easily tell the difference. The leaves at the top of these plants are not near as frilly and they have short petioles (leaf stems). Glechoma hederacea flowers are more bluish with maroonish spots toward the throat. The flowers are also much broader and have shorter tubes. We are talking in millimeters here…


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-13.

I am beginning to think I saved too many photos… The leaves grow in an opposite fashion along the stems and are about 1” long and wide. Leaves may be green or have a purplish tint. Some describe the leaves as kidney-shaped to nearly circular, orbicular and crenate along the margins, cordite at the base, rounded or broadly angled and so on. Well, you can read the technical botanical descriptions from the links below.


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-14.

I am beginning to think I took to many photos, but you have to admit the hairs on the leaf nodes are pretty neat… The upper stems also have very fine hairs while the lower stems are mostly hairless.


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-15.

Glechoma hederacea starts flowering in March and may last through July but it depends on temperature and moisture. Plants in shadier areas will flower longer while those in full sun will likely fizzle out.


Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy) on 3-21-20, #678-16.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is located in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry is across the street and Johnson and Benton aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.

I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.