GROUND-IVY
File Size: 79 KB
 
Glechoma hederacea  L.
Shawnee County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: Prostrate with ascending branches, 4-16 inches
Family: Lamiaceae - Mint Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Also Called: Gill-over-the-ground.
Stems: Much-branched, 4 to 50+ inches long, glabrous or puberulent, rooting at nodes.
Leaves: Opposite, simple: petiole .2 to .8(-1.6) inch; blade kidney-shaped or nearly round, .04 to 1.4 inch long, .3 to 1.6 inch wide, base cordate, margins crenate, tip rounded, surfaces glabrate or sparsely hirsute.
Inflorescences: Axillary cymes; bracts leaf-like.
Flowers: Calyx weakly bilaterally symmetric, cylindric to narrowly campanulate, .2 to .3 inch, tube 15-nerved, throat glabrous, lobes 5, triangular, tips acuminate; corolla blue, lower lip purple-spotted and white-mottled, .4 to .8 inch, 2-lipped, lower lip 3-lobed, middle lobe larger than lateral lobes, upper lip 2-lobed, straight or slightly reflexed; stamens 4, included, ascending under upper lip.
Fruits: Schizocarps comprised of 2-4 mericarps; mericarps yellowish brown, ovoid to oblong-obovoid, .06 to .08 inch, glabrous, smooth or minutely rough; seeds 1 per mericarp.
Habitat: Flood plains, pastures, lawns, cemeteries, disturbed sites.
Distribution: Scattered statewide
Origin: Introduced
Toxicity: Toxic to horses when consumed in large quantities.
Uses: The Cherokee took an infusion of the plant for colds.
Comments: Old Greek name for a kind of mint and alluding to the similarity to plants in the genus Hedera. May become weedy in some habitats, forming dense mats. Centuries ago, ground ivy was used to flavor beer before it was replaced by hops. The common name "gill-over-the-ground" is from the French guilder, "to ferment ale". The English brought ground ivy to North America as an herb.

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