[The Mint Family in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Creeping Charlie, Field Balm, Gill Over the Ground, Ground-ivy, Ground Ivy

Glecoma hederacea

Synonyms: Glechoma hederacea var. micrantha, Glechoma hederacea var. parviflora, Glecoma hederacea, Nepeta hederacea)

Creeping Charlie, Field Balm, Gill Over the Ground, Ground-ivy, Ground Ivy: Glechoma hederacea (Synonyms: Glechoma hederacea var. micrantha, Glechoma hederacea var. parviflora, Glecoma hederacea, Nepeta hederacea)

Ground ivy from near Crown Point, late May 2001. The corolla tube is funneliform and ends in two lateral lobes and two broad lips, the uppermost cleft in the middle and the lowermost the largest.

Leaf of Creeping Charlie, Field Balm, Gill Over the Ground, Ground-ivy, Ground Ivy: Glechoma hederacea (Synonyms: Glechoma hederacea var. micrantha, Glechoma hederacea var. parviflora, Glecoma hederacea, Nepeta hederacea)The photo at right shows the broad, kidney-shaped leaf of ground ivy as seen in the Columbia River Gorge near Crown Point. Note the broad, rounded teeth along the margin of the leaf blade.
Characteristics:

Ground ivy is a perennial with lax stems from 10-40 cm tall. The leaves are all found on the stems. The leaves are arranged opposite of each other. They are all petiolate, and the blades are rotund-cordate to cordate-reniform (kidney-shaped) with rounded teeth along the margins (See photo at right.). The blades are about 1-3 cm long.

Several flowers may be found in each of the upper leaf axils. The calyx is narrow, 5-6 mm long, with 5 toothed lobes, the upper teeth being longer. The corolla is tubular, 13-23 mm long, and blue-violet in color. The lower lip is much larger than the upper.


Habitat:

Ground ivy is found in moist woods, thickets, and often in shade, disturbed habitats, including yards, gardens, and parks.


Range:

Ground ivy is a native of Eurasia, but is now well established across much of the United States.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 100'-900' from Troutdale, OR. east to Mosier, OR.


Creeping Charlie, Field Balm, Gill Over the Ground, Ground-ivy, Ground Ivy: Glechoma hederacea (Synonyms: Glechoma hederacea var. micrantha, Glechoma hederacea var. parviflora, Glecoma hederacea, Nepeta hederacea)

Ground ivy from near Crown Point, late May 2001.

Uses:

Ground ivy may be used as a ground cover, but it can be very aggressive and could be hard to control once established. Some sources cite ground ivy as being edible, but this should be treated with caution as it is known that large quantities have killed horses. Historic accounts state that ground ivy may have been used as a poultice to reduce bruises and cancerous lesions, and to reduce muscular aches.


Paul Slichter