Gill-over-the-ground
Glechoma hederaceaLamiaceae
Whole Plant
Flower
Habitat
Habitat
Whole PlantFlowerHabitatHabitat
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted

Synonyms:

  • Ground ivy, Creeping Charlie
  • Nepeta hederacea

The Plant:

  • An herbaceous perennial with stems 1-8 inches tall.

The Leaves:

  • opposite
  • round to kidney shaped
  • rounded teeth
  • fragrant mint-like

The Stem:

  • slender creeping stems
  • additional small erect stems
  • root at nodes
  • square
  • glabrous

The Flowers:

  • Blue to violet five-petaled flowers with four stamens and short pedicels grow in clusters in the leaf axils. The corolla tube is elongated with two lips, the upper concave and two lobed, the lower larger with three lobes.

The Fruits:

  • brown nutlet
  • 4 parted

The Habitat:

  • moist, open to shaded sites, including moist woods, floodplain forests
  • lawns, roadsides, gardens

Dispersal:

  • roots at stem nodes
  • seeds are typically passively dispersed
  • seedlings are uncommon but do occur

Key ID Features:

  • opposite
  • kidney shaped
  • mint-like odor
  • square stems
  • blue-violet flowers
  • brown nut

Similar Species:

  • Often confused with Common mallow (Malva neglecta) which lacks the square stems
  • Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) and Persian speedwell (Veronica persica) all lack the creeping stems that have the ability to root at the nodes like Glechoma hederacea.

Notes:

  • Reproduces and spreads by rooting along its creeping stems. Gill-over-the-ground is very aggressive and can move into undisturbed areas very rapidly.
  • On Nantucket, this species tends to form a carpet where it grows. However, it appears to prefer habitat that is uncommon on the island. More information needed to confirm its status in minimally managed habitats.

Growth Form: Herb

Origin: Europe, Asia

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Do not list at this time

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no




Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston