Glechoma hederacea L. - Ground Ivy

Glechoma hederacea plant

Family - Lamiaceae

Stems - Repent, herbaceous. Flowering portions erect, to +30cm tall, glabrous or often strigose on angles.

Glechoma hederacea stem

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate. Petioles densely retrorse pubescent, reduced upward. Blades reniform to orbicular, to +3cm long (and wide), typically glabrous but also sparsely pubescent. Margins crenate.

Glechoma hederacea leaf

Inflorescence - Axillary clusters of 2 or more flowers, secund. Pedicels to 1.5mm long.

Flowers - Corolla blue-purple, bilabiate, to +2cm long. Corolla tube bearded internally at apex, with purple spotting internally. Upper lip single-lobed, with notch at apex. Lower lip 3-lobed. Lateral lobes small, 2mm long. Central lobe 3-4mm long, 4mm broad, with dark purple spotting. Stamens 4, included. Style to 7mm long, white, glabrous. Stigma 2-lobed, purple. Calyx tubular, 6-7mm long, with 12-15 nerves(ridges), 5-lobed. Lobes acute to acuminate.

Glechoma hederacea flowersFlowers.

Glechoma hederacea flower

Glechoma hederacea calyxCalyx close-up.

Flowering - March - July.

Habitat - Moist ground, low woods, slopes, roadsides, railroads, disturbed sites, waste ground.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This little plant is one of the first to bloom in the spring and is quite striking. It prefers a somewhat shaded location and moist ground. The plant was cultivated at first but is now escaped and quite common. The flowers produce 4 nutlets each. Since it is introduced, it should not be propagated outside of cultivation.
Steyermark lists two varieties in the state. Variety hederacea has corollas to +2cm long. Variety micrantha Moricand has corollas to 1.5cm long and is much more common.

Photographs taken in Columbia, MO., 4-15-04.


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