Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie, Gill-Over-The-Ground, Alehoof, Turnhoof, Catsfoot, Field Balm, Run-Away-Robin, Etc.
Synonyms of Glechoma hederacea (21) (Updated on 5-14-21 from Plants of the World Online): Hedera 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 5-14-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 236 other genera. Those numbers are likely to change as updates are made by POWO.
The above map from Plants of the World Online shows where Glechoma hederacea is native in green, introduced in purple and doubtful in gold. Plants of the World Online gets their maps for North America from Flora of North America for families included on their site. However, the plant family Lamiaceae had not been added to FNA when I last updated this page. POWO said they will start using maps from the USDA for families not included on FNA later in 2021. I wanted to use this map mainly to show where the species is native.
The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada shows where the species has been introduced in the United States and Canada.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND FOR BETTER POSITIVE ID.
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…
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.
One neat thing I noticed is the hairs growing from the leaf nodes.
The flowers are very small so I had to use two magnifying glasses in front of the lens to get a 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.
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…
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.
I am beginning to think I took too 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 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.
There is A LOT of Glechoma hederaceae growing in the front yard where my grandparents ol house was. I took A LOT of photos on April 4 of the Ground Ivy, so I am just including a few.
Sometimes it is hard to get good close-ups that aren’t blurry.
How about a side view?
In some areas, the Ground Ivy is blooming up a storm while not so much in other areas. They weren’t flowering as well in deeper shade.
The above is a photo showing the difference between Glechoma hederacea and the Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle).
While I was out wildflower and mushroom hunting in a friend’s woods I ran across a colony of Glechoma hederacea growing under a very old and large Multiflora Rose bush. I got on my hands and knees and crawled in. It was a sticky ordeal…
I took a lot of photos so I am just adding a few of the best. The flowers were just hanging off the stems in clusters. The above photo shows two pairs. Leaves grow opposite one another and the flowers emerge at the leaf nodes, on top of there the leaf petioles join the node.
I was surprised at how good the photos came out. The light was perfect… You can even see the fine hairs on the stems.
Well, I think I have added enough photos for now. We’ll see what happens in 2021…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
NATURAL MEDICINAL HERBS
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂