COMMON NAME

Gill-over-the-ground
Ground ivy
Creeping Charlie


FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME

Glechoma hederacea L.


FAMILY NAME COMMON

Mint family


FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME

Glechoma hederacea


IMAGES


Incursion

Flowers and leaves

Vegetative spread

Habit

NOMENCLATURE/SYNONYMS

Synonyms: Nepeta hederacea (L.) Trevisan


DESCRIPTION

Botanical Glossary

Glechoma hederacea is a perennial herb that grows 2.5-20.3 cm (1-8 in.) in height. It has slender creeping stems, typically 1-4 dm (3.9 - 15.7 in.) long that give rise to small erect stems. The creeping stems can be described as varying from stolons (above ground) to superficial rhizomes (just below ground). The stems readily root at nodes along their length. They are square and nearly glabrous to villous; at the nodes they are pilose. The leaves are opposite, variably petiolate, nearly round to kidney shaped, 1.5 t-4 cm (0.6-1.6 in.) wide and have rounded teeth at their margins. When crushed or mown the leaves give off a mild mint-like odor. The blue or violet flowers occur in clusters of three at the leaf axils, are borne on short pedicels, and are 1.0-1.5 cm (0.38-0.62 in.) long. The calyx has five pointed teeth and is 5.5-9 mm (0.22-0.35 in.) long . The corolla tube is elongate, easily surpassing the calyx, and has two lips. The upper lip is 2-lobed and slightly concave. The lower lip is much larger and has 3 lobes: two smaller lateral lobes and one larger median lobe. The flower has four stamens that ascend under the upper corolla lip. The four parted fruit is a small (1 mm / 0.04 in.) brown nutlet. Page References Bailey 852, Fernald 1224, Gleason & Cronquist 448, Holmgren 421, Magee & Ahles 884, Newcomb 86, Peterson & McKenny 348. See reference section below for full citations.


SIMILAR SPECIES

Malva neglecta Wallr. (Common mallow)
Lamium amplexicaule L. (Henbit)
Lamium purpureum L. (Purple Deadnettle)
Veronica persica Poir. (Russian speedwell)


REPRODUCTIVE/DISPERSAL MECHANISMS

For the most part, Glechoma hederacea reproduces clonally and spreads by rooting at the nodes along its creeping stems. It is unclear exactly to what degree sexual reproduction contributes to its spread, as seedlings are uncommon. Glechoma hederaceae may also be spread short distances by fragmentation.


DISTRIBUTION

Glechoma hederacea is native to Eurasia. It is widespread throughout North America, occurring in all of the lower 48 states except for Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. It is common in all of the states of New England.


HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND

The history of this plant's arrival in New England is unclear. Herbarium records indicate that Glechoma hederacea was present in New England at least as early as the late part of the 19th century. It may have arrived much earlier than that, and probably became established through multiple introductions. This seems particularly likely when considering its extensive distribution throughout the United States and Canada.


HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND

Abandoned Field, Open Disturbed Area, Pasture, Roadside, Vacant Lot, Wet Meadow, Yard or Garden

Glechoma hederacea favors moist, open to shaded habitats including lawns, roadsides, disturbed areas and field edges. It can also be found in some minimally managed habitats, such as moist woods, woodland seeps and floodplain forests.


THREATS

Glechoma hederacea is mostly a nuisance species of lawns, gardens and fields; however, its moderate shade tolerance and its ability to spread aggressively make it a potential threat to less disturbed and minimally managed habitats.


DOCUMENTATION NEEDS

Documentation required: Herbarium specimen or mounted snippet of the branch with flowers or fruits.
Best time for documentation: Summer, fall.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Taxonomic information about the species

The PLANTS Database
General information and a distribution map

Virginia Tech Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science
Images and brief description


REFERENCES

Andersen, R.N. 1968. Germination and Establishment of Weeds for Experimental Purposes. Weed Science Society of America Handbook. WSSA, Illinois.

Bailey, L.H. 1949.  Manual of Cultivated Plants.  Macmillan, New York.

Britton, N.L. and A. Brown. 1970. An Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States vol. 2.  Dover Publications Inc., New York. 

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.

Foster, S. and J.A. Duke. 1990. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central North America Houghton Mifflin Co New York, USA.

Gleason, H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991.  Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Hoffman, R. and K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102 pp

Holm, L.G., J.V Pancho., J.P. Herberger and D.L. Plucknett. 1979. A Geographical Atlas of World Weeds. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Magee, D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999.  Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Newcomb, N. 1977.  Newcomb's Wildflower Guide.  Little Brown, Boston.

Peterson, R.T. and M. McKenny. 1968. A field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America.  Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Stubbendieck, J., G.Y. Friisoe and M.R. Bolick. 1994. Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains. Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. Lincoln, Nebraska. 589 pp.

Taylor, R.J. 1990. Northwest Weeds, Ugly and Beautiful Villains of Fields, Gardens, and Roadsides. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana.

USDA, NRCS.  2001.  The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov).  National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.