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Overview

Brief Summary

History in the United States

Also known as gill-over-the-ground and creeping Charlie, it was introduced into North America as an ornamental or medicinal plant, as early as the 1800s.

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Comprehensive Description

Description

This introduced perennial plant is usually 1' or less, branching frequently and forming a low-growing mat of stems and leaves across the ground. The 4-angled stems are prostrate to slightly ascending, and often form rootlets near the axils of the leaves when they touch the ground. The opposite leaves are about 1" long and across. They are green to purplish green, orbicular, and crenate along the margins. There is a flat indentation where the long petiole joins the base of a leaf. The pubescent upper surface has conspicuous palmate venation. Clusters of 1-3 tubular flowers develop from the leaf axils. These flowers are bluish violet to reddish purple and about ½" in length. The corolla of each flower is narrow at the base, but flares outward like a trumpet into spreading lobes. There is a notched upper lobe, a notched lower lobe, and 2 smaller side lobes. The lower lobe is larger than the others and functions as a landing pad for visiting insects. It has darker violet lines that function as nectar guides. Within the throat of the corolla, there are fuzzy hairs. Each flower has a single pistil with a divided style, 2 long stamens, and 2 short stamens. The pubescent calyx is about 1/3 the length of the tubular corolla, with 15 veins running along its length and 5 teeth along its outer edge.  The blooming period usually occurs from mid-spring to early summer for about 2 months, although some plants may bloom later in the year if they remain in cool shade or a major disturbance prevents earlier bloom. Upon maturity, each flower is replaced by 4 dark brown nutlets. Each nutlet is ovoid, with 2 flat sides and an outer side that is rounded. The root system is fibrous and shallow. This plant often forms dense colonies by forming rootlets along the stems.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

Ground Ivy is an important source of nectar during the spring for bees. Otherwise, its ecological value is rather low. The size and color of the flowers are somewhat variable. This species resembles another introduced member of the Mint family, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit), which is also an aggressive spreader. However, the opposite leaves of Henbit are more widely spaced along its spreading stems and they strongly clasp the stems, while the leaves of Ground Ivy have long petioles. The flowers of Henbit occur in whorls from the axils of the upper leaves, and they are more erect and pink than the flowers of Ground Ivy. Other members of the Mint family usually have an erect habit, while the stems of Ground Ivy often sprawl about and form loose mats. Another common name for this species is Gill-over-the-Ground, which is more often used in England. Return
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

More info for the term: nonnative species

Ground-ivy is a nonnative species that occurs throughout most of North America north of Mexico. Native to Eurasia [31,44,49,51], this species was introduced to North America by early settlers [72,76]. In the United States, it occurs in all states except Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. In Canada, ground-ivy has been found in all provinces but has not spread north into the territories [55]. Most information documenting the occurrence of ground-ivy in North America comes from studies in deciduous forests in the eastern United States [69,70,82,86,109,119], suggesting that ground-ivy may be more common in that region. Specific distributional information on the variety is lacking; however, regional floras indicate that G. hederacea var. micrantha may occur both east and west of the Mississippi River [35,131]. NatureServe provides a distributional map for ground-ivy and its associated variety in the United States and Canada.

Likely brought by settlers to North America for its medicinal properties and other uses [51,72,76], ground-ivy was typically grown in small garden plots (Rafinesque 1811, as cited in [72]). It was first reported in the northeastern United States in 1672 [122]. Since its introduction, ground-ivy has escaped cultivation and spread to a variety of native plant communities. Although it is unclear by what means or how fast it spread throughout North America, there are reports of this species in Indiana from 1856 [98] and from Colorado as early as 1906 [96], suggesting its westerly introduction and/or migration did not occur recently.

  • 31. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 35. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 44. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 49. Hulten, Eric. 1968. Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1008 p. [13403]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 69. Leck, Mary Allessio; Leck, Charles F. 2005. Vascular plants of a Delaware River tidal freshwater wetland and adjacent terrestrial areas: seed bank and vegetation comparisons of reference and constructed marshes and annotated species list. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 132(2): 323-354. [60627]
  • 70. Luken, James O. 2003. Invasions of forests in the eastern United States. In: Gilliam, Frank S.; Roberts, Mark R., eds. The herbaceous layer in forests of eastern North America. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc: 283-400. [71484]
  • 72. Mack, Richard N. 2003. Plant naturalizations and invasions in the eastern United States: 1634-1860. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 90(1): 77-90. [51128]
  • 76. Mitich, L. W. 1994. The intriguing world of weeds. Ground ivy. Weed Technology. 8(2): 413-415. [71816]
  • 82. Picklesimer, Bessie Cunningham. 1926. A quantitative study of the plant succession of the cedar glades of middle Tennessee. Nashville, TN: George Peabody College for Teachers. 121 p. Thesis. [49320]
  • 86. Pyle, Laura L. 1995. Effects of disturbance on herbaceous exotic plant species on the floodplain of the Potomac River. The American Midland Naturalist. 134: 244-253. [26182]
  • 96. Rydberg, Per Axel. 1906. Flora of Colorado. Bulletin 100. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 448 p. [63874]
  • 98. Shriver, Howard. 1876. Nepeta glechoma, Benth. Botanical Bulletin. 1(10): 41-42. [72637]
  • 109. Taverna, Kristin; Peet, Robert K.; Phillips, Laura C. 2005. Long-term change in ground-layer vegetation of deciduous forests of the North Carolina Piedmont, USA. Journal of Ecology. 93: 202-213. [51495]
  • 119. Walters, Gary L.; Williams, Charles E. 1999. Riparian forest overstory and herbaceous layer of two upper Allegheny River islands in northwestern Pennsylvania. Castanea. 64(1): 81-89. [37387]
  • 122. Wells, Elizabeth Fortson; Brown, Rebecca Louise. 2000. An annotated checklist of the vascular plants in the forest at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia: a legacy from the past. Castanea. 65(4): 242-257. [47363]
  • 131. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 55. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Ground Ivy is occasional to locally common in most areas of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings of floodplain forests, semi-shaded areas along rivers, powerline clearances in woodland areas, cemeteries, lawns and gardens, and miscellaneous waste areas. This plant can withstand regular mowing, but flourishes better without it. It prefers disturbed areas, but occasionally invades higher quality natural areas. Sometimes homeowners tolerate its presence in lawns because they like the flowers. Faunal Associations
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution and Habitat in the United States

Ground ivy occurs throughout the U.S. in all of the Lower 48 except for Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico and has been reported to be invasive in natural areas from Wisconsin to Connecticut, south to Tennessee and North Carolina. It is common in moist areas such as floodplains, low woods and disturbed sites and is a significant weed in lawns. It grows on damp, heavy, fertile and calcareous soils and does not tolerate highly acidic or saline soils.

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Origin

Eurasia

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Glechoma hederacea var. hederacea :
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Glechoma hederacea var. micrantha Moric.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Glechoma hederacea L.:
Chile (South America)
Russian Federation (Asia)
China (Asia)
Ecuador (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Source: NatureServe

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Source: NatureServe

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: allelopathy, cyme, stolon

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [31,35,45,49,62,87,97,107,131]).

Aboveground description: Ground-ivy is a low-growing perennial herb that spreads by branched horizontal stolons that root at their nodes. It is clonal and forms patches or carpet-like mats [51]. Plant height varies from about 2 to 24 inches (5-60 cm) [31,44,51,87,102]. Stolons often grow to over 7 feet (2 m) in length [51]. Individual ramets are produced annually at the stolon nodes and develop from overwintering structures that can be 2-leaved ramets or 8- to 10-leaved rosettes [51]. In colder climates, like Sweden, overwintering structures can be 2-leaved stolon fragments with auxiliary rosettes situated in the leaf axil [103,126].

Ramets have 2 erect petioles and may or may not produce flowers [52,103,124]. Petioles arise from the stolon nodes and bear cordate-reniform leaves that average about 0.4 to 1.2 inches long (~1-3 cm) [46,51,79,123] and can reach over 3 inches long (8 cm) [51]. Plants are often pubescent but can be nearly glabrous [49,51,62,97]. In Great Britain [91], the northeastern United States [113], and the Carolinas [87], ground-ivy is reported to be evergreen. Flowerstalks can be erect or ascending and may not always produce flowers [51]. The inflorescence is a 2- to 6-flowered cyme [51,108,130]. The fruit is a nutlet [30,124,125,130] containing one 1.9 × 1.1 mm seed [51,108].

Belowground description: Ground-ivy has fine, fibrous, shallow roots that develop at the stolon nodes [5,29,31,51,108,113]. Several authors describe superficial rhizomes [16,31,113].

Stand structure: Although ground-ivy can form large patches, it typically does not dominate the vegetation where it occurs in Great Britain [51]. In southern Sweden, however, it occasionally forms extensive monocultures covering over 1,000 feet² (100 m²), and has been observed growing in patches covering over 10,000 feet² (1,000 m²) [124]. Stand structure is not well described for ground-ivy populations in North America.

Other: Rice [89] suggested that ground-ivy may have allelopathic properties. In the laboratory, leaf and root extracts of ground-ivy had both inhibitory and stimulative effects on germination and growth of radish (Raphanus sativus) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) [89]. However, allelopathy in ground-ivy has not been studied in the field.

  • 97. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2nd ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 123. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 5. Birch, C. P. D.; Hutchings, M. J. 1992. Stolon growth and branching in Glechoma hederacea L.: an application of a plastochron index. New Phytologist. 122(3): 545-551. [72993]
  • 16. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 29. Georgia, Ada E. 1919. A manual of weeds. New York: The Macmillan Company. 593 p. [72969]
  • 30. Gill, L. S. 1979. Cytotaxonomic studies of the tribe Nepeteae (Labiatae) in Canada. Genetica. 50: 111-118. [72720]
  • 31. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 35. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 44. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 45. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 46. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 49. Hulten, Eric. 1968. Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1008 p. [13403]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 52. Hutchings, Michael J.; Slade, Andrew J. 1988. Morphological plasticity, foraging and integration in clonal perennial herbs. In: Davy, A. J.; Hutchings, M. J.; Watkinson, A. R., eds. Symposium of the British Ecological Society: No. 28. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications: 83-119. [73232]
  • 62. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798]
  • 79. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924]
  • 87. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 89. Rice, Elroy L. 1986. Allelopathic growth stimulation. In: Putnam, Alan R.; Tang, Chung-Shih, eds. The science of allelopathy. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc: 23-42. [71827]
  • 91. Rodwell, J. S.; Pigott, C. D.; Ratcliffe, D. A.; Malloch, A. J. C.; Birks, H. J. B.; Proctor, M. C. F.; Shimwell, D. W.; Huntley, J. P.; Radford, E.; Wigginton, M. J.; Wilkins, P. 1991. British plant communities. Volume 1: Woodlands and scrub. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 395 p. [72970]
  • 102. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1987. The effects of nutrient availability on foraging in the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 75(1): 95-112. [71835]
  • 103. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1989. Within- and between-population variation in ramet behaviour in the gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(3): 633-639. [71829]
  • 107. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 108. Stubbendieck, James; Coffin, Mitchell J.; Landholt, L. M. 2003. Weeds of the Great Plains. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. 605 p. In cooperation with: University of Nebraska, Lincoln. [50776]
  • 113. Uva, Richard H.; Neal, Joseph C., DiTomaso, Joseph M., eds. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. New York: Cornell University Press. 397 p. [72430]
  • 124. Widen, Bjorn; Widen, Marie. 1990. Pollen limitation and distance-dependent fecundity in females of the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oecologia. 83(2): 191-196. [71841]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]
  • 131. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 126. Widen, Marie. 2009. [Email to Melissa Waggy]. February 24. Overwintering information on Glechoma hederacea. Lund, Sweden: University of Lund, Department of Systematic Botany. On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; FEIS files. [73563]
  • 130. Wu, Z. Y.; Raven, P. H.; Hong, D. Y., eds. 2009. Flora of China, [Online]. Volumes 1-25. Beijing: Science Press; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. In: eFloras. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 and http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china. [72954]

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Description and Biology

  • Plant: perennial scrambling herbaceous plant; stems square (4-sided) and fragile; flowering stems can reach a height of 1 ft.
  • Leaves: opposite, heart-shaped with scalloped margins, about an inch across and have a musky mint odor when crushed.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers are about ½-¾ in. long, tubular, lavender, paired and emerge from leaf axils; flowering occurs March to July; each flower produces a pod containing four smooth tan seeds.
  • Spreads: by vegetatively by creeping stems and to a lesser degree by seed; shallow fibrous roots form at the base of the plant and at leaf nodes on the stem.
  • Look-alikes: henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum), first-year garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and possibly other small herbaceous plants with opposite leaves and blue flowers.

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Description

Stems 10-17 cm, ascending, base purplish, subglabrous, nodes retrorse strigose. Petiole of basal leaves 3.5-4 cm, 0.8-1.8 cm in upper leaves, with sparse, retrorse, minutely hooked hairs; upper blade larger than basal one, reniform to reniform-orbicular, 0.8-1.3 × ca. 2 cm, glabrous except sometimes sparsely retrorse strigose on abaxial veins, margin ± coarsely crenate, apex rounded. Cymes 2-4-flowered, in verticillasters; bracts and bracteoles subulate, ca. 1 mm. Calyx tubular, slightly curved at apex, 5-7 mm, hirtellous; teeth ovate, ca. 1 mm, apex acute, ciliate. Corolla purple, ca. 1 cm, hirtellous; tube ca. 7.5 mm, straight, funnelform; upper lip straight, ca. 3 mm, 2-lobed, lobes oblong; lower lip obliquely spreading, ca. 4 mm, middle lobe flabellate, apex emarginate; lateral lobes ovate. Nutlets unknown. Fl. May.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Nepeta glechoma Bentham.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, mesic, natural, restoration

Ground-ivy is a species of temperate latitudes (review by [51]). It was classified as a Eurasian boreo-temperate species but may now be considered circumpolar boreo-temperate since its introduction and spread to other parts of the world [49,50,51,83]. While its distribution has typically been restricted to the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, its introduction to New Zealand [50,51] suggests its distribution may be expanding.

A few floras from the western United States report ground-ivy's elevational range. In California this species occurs below 2,625 feet (800 m) [44], while in Utah ground-ivy occurs from about 4,600 to 5,200 feet (1,400-1,590 m). In Colorado, it has been reported growing from 5,000 to 6,000 feet (~1,525-1,825 m) [41]. Ground-ivy was found in a mid-elevation mixed oak (Quercus spp.) forest between approximately 1,970 and 4,920 feet (600-1500 m) in the southern Appalachian Mountains [38]. British references indicate that ground-ivy is primarily a species of the valleys and foothills of temperate Europe [51]. It occurs from sea level in England, Scotland, and Wales to about 1,150 feet (350 m), and up to 5,250 feet (1,600 m) in the Alps [50,51].

In North America, ground-ivy is frequently associated with riparian habitats [3,35,47,56,73,78,86,116,118,119,123]. It also occurs in thickets [16,35,40,79,86,107,118], moist woods [16,31,46,70,79], wetlands [34], and forest edges [11,118]. In Ohio, ground-ivy was a characteristic ground flora component in a riparian forest, maintaining approximately 0.6% of the mean ground cover during the spring. It maintained a higher percentage of groundcover in a floodplain than in the adjacent upland (see table below) [47].

In Great Britain, ground-ivy occurs in hedgerows [36], grasslands [51], fens [33,91], and on scree slopes [53]. It grows on a wide range of slopes and aspects in Britain and is common on south-facing slopes but most abundant on unshaded north-facing slopes and on sites with a "moderate to high" percentage of bare ground (review by [51]).

Ground-ivy readily invades sites associated with anthropogenic disturbance and human activities, such as roadsides [3,35,40,87,97,118], housing developments [97], prairie restoration sites [48,90], cultivated pastures [3,35], fallow fields [81], pasture edges [11], "waste ground" [107,118], and lawns [3,35,45,118]. In Canada, ground-ivy was considerably more abundant in fragmented riparian forest associated with urban land use and disturbance than in undisturbed sites farther from urban areas [77]. In Sweden, ground-ivy ramets were observed in 1 plot in a highly managed "semi-natural" grassland [54].

Although ground-ivy has variable light requirements, it is more often associated with shaded habitats in North America such as woodlands, riparian forests [16,31,46,47,56,70,73,79,86,113,119], and thickets [16,35,40,79,107,118]. In a floodplain along the Potomac River in Maryland, ground-ivy cover was significantly greater in the more heavily shaded forested sites (50% to 75% ground-ivy cover) than in the forested site with increased light penetration (trace of ground-ivy cover) [86]. Ground-ivy can grow in full sunlight [2,59,113], especially on disturbed sites or where human activity has altered the natural vegetation (e.g., roadsides, pastures, lawns) [51], but it likely prefers some degree of shade even on these types of sites [51,105,110]. Ground-ivy has been found in prairies and grasslands undergoing restoration in Illinois and central New York [48,90].

In Great Britain, ground-ivy is associated with light gradients ranging from open to shaded [2] but is typically a plant of shaded or patchily shaded habitats (review by [51]). It is also associated with grassland communities in Great Britain, suggesting that increased light does not preclude ground-ivy from establishing [51].

Across its introduced range in North America, ground-ivy appears to prefer moist, but not saturated, soils associated with riparian areas, floodplains, wetlands, and moist woods [16,31,34,46,47,70,79]. Throughout most of the United States, this species is ranked as a facultative upland species; usually occurring in non-wetland habitat but occasionally found in wetlands (estimated 1% to 33% probability of occurrence in a wetland) [34,112]. In a Pennsylvania wetland, ground-ivy was strongly associated with wetlands that retained seasonal surface water, but was not strongly associated with permanently flooded wetlands or those with high groundwater [34]. Along the Potomac River in Maryland, researchers found that while ground-ivy was common in the floodplain, its frequency decreased with increased proximity to the water's edge [86]. In Great Britain, ground-ivy occurs as a minor component in fens [91] but may be locally abundant on some sites [33]. In France, ground-ivy did not occur in a meadow where summer groundwater was less than about 16 inches (40 cm) below the surface. It did occur on sites where groundwater was deeper than 16 inches and it was most abundant on sites where summer groundwater levels were 3.3 feet (1 m) or greater below the surface. In that same meadow, ground-ivy was found in areas that flooded between 1 and 3 months a year but was absent from sites experiencing more frequent flooding [114].

Information pertaining to soil characteristics associated with ground-ivy in North America is limited. Ground-ivy was found in loamy-skeletal, mixed mesic soils at one site in the southern Appalachian Mountain region [38]. A floodplain study in Massachusetts found ground-ivy to be a common understory component where soils were predominantly sandy loams with a pH ranging from 4.5 to 8.0 [56]. Ground-ivy grew in coarse soil associated with a constructed wetland in New Jersey [69]. In Ohio, several substrate parameters were reported for a floodplain and adjacent upland where ground-ivy occurred [47]:

Mean values of environmental variables (SE) for landforms along a first order stream at Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve, Ohio [47].
Variable Floodplain Upland
Distance from stream (m) *8.65(1.12) 26.44 (1.28)
Elevation from stream (m) *0.35(0.06) 2.66 (0.21)
pH *5.11(0.07) 4.59 (0.04)
Organic matter (%) *4.96(0.30) 3.38 (0.10)
A horizon thickness (cm) 10.25 (0.59) 9.22 (0.42)
Sand (%) *26.70 (0.70) 22.93 (0.48)
Silt (%) *39.86 (1.29) 51.35 (0.53)
Clay (%) *33.45 (1.24) 25.73 (0.50)
ground-ivy cover (%) - early spring 0.55% 0.20%
ground-ivy cover (%) - late spring 0.60% 0.04%
*Values of measured environmental variable are significantly different (P<0.001) between floodplain and upland sites

Ground-ivy substrate requirements have been studied extensively in parts of its native range. Regional floras from Great Britain indicate that ground-ivy prefers damp, heavy, fertile and calcareous soils with a pH range from 5.5 to 7.5 but occurs in soils with a pH as low as 4.0 (review by [51]). In that region, it often grows on fine-textured soils and heavy clays ([91], Landolt 1977 as cited in [51]). In central Estonia, ground-ivy seedlings emerged from soils with a pH of 5.5 [132]. In England, ground-ivy seed germinated in brown earth soils with a basic pH [120]. It has also been reported that ground-ivy does not grow in strongly acidic soils and is intolerant of saline conditions (Landolt 1977, as cited in [51]). In central Belgium and Great Britain, ground-ivy tolerates heavily compacted soils associated with disturbed areas [32,91]. Others have found that ground-ivy may only become abundant where there is an adequate supply of phosphate, nitrate, and calcium in the soil (review by [51]). 

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: cover, fern, fire regime, hardwood, mesic, prescribed fire, restoration

In North America, habitat types and specific plant community associations for ground-ivy are
difficult to describe accurately because specific survey information is lacking. Gaps exist
in the understanding of ground-ivy's ecological characteristics, specifically its invasiveness
in North America. Therefore, ground-ivy may occur in plant communities other than those discussed
here and listed in the Fire Regime Table.
Ground-ivy occurs in deciduous and riparian forests in the eastern and central portions
of the United States [11,47,56,70,86,95,119] and in parts of Canada [77]. In Massachusetts,
ground-ivy was a common understory component of a riparian forest dominated by silver maple
(Acer saccharinum) mixed with lesser amounts of eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) [56]. Ground-ivy was a minor understory component in a Pennsylvania forest community dominated by
silver maple and sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) [119]. In New Hampshire, ground-ivy
was observed after a prescribed fire in an eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)/mixed hardwood forest characterized by red oak (Quercus rubra) and red maple (Acer rubrum) [95]. In Ohio,
ground-ivy occurred in upland and floodplain forests associated with headwater streams on the
western glaciated Allegheny Plateau, but it was more common in the floodplain. At the time of the
study, upland forests in the area were characterized by a mixed-oak (Quercus spp.)
and hickory (Carya spp.) overstory with American beech (Fagus grandifolia) and
sugar maple (Acer saccharum) in the understory. Low-lying areas were generally
associated with vernal pools characterized by a red maple, buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis),
and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) overstory [47]. In Indiana, trace amounts of
ground-ivy were found in the interior of a fragmented forest dominated by sugar maple and American
beech that was surrounded by croplands [11]. In a fragmented riparian forest along the Assiniboine
River in Canada, ground-ivy occurred with green ash, boxelder (Acer negundo), and basswood
(Tilia americana)[77].
Ground-ivy can also occur in more open plant communities. It was a common component in
an early successional eastern redcedar glade (Juniperus virginiana) in Tennessee characterized
by a widowscross-pitcher's stitchwort (Sedum pulchellum-Minuartia patula) plant
community, and was an occasional component in older portions of the glade, growing with prairie
fleabane (Erigeron strigosus var. strigosus) [82]. In a tallgrass prairie restoration
site on a previously cultivated field in Illinois, ground-ivy established in an area dominated by native
and nonnative grasses including quackgrass (Elymus repens), Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis),
and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) [48]. In a wildlife refuge in central New York, ground-ivy
was found in a managed semi-native grassland transitioning to shrubland, characterized by gray dogwood
(Cornus racemosa), common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Allegheny blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis), red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), Morrow's honeysuckle (Lonicera
morrowii), and goldenrods (Solidago spp.). Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and
black swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae) were also common at this site [90]. Throughout its range, ground-ivy is frequently associated with human development such as roadsides [35,87,94], fallow fields [81], pasture fringes [11,35], and other disturbed sites [21,31,107,131]; and it readily
invades lawns and gardens [28,42,45,60,87,107].
Great Britain's vegetation classification system provides detailed information about ground-ivy's
associated plant communities in that region [91,92,93]. Although this classification system is
specific to Great Britain, it may help to infer what types of plant communities ground-ivy might prefer
in its introduced range. In Great Britain ground-ivy is associated with numerous woodland, grassland, and maritime-influenced plant communities [91,92,93]. Ground-ivy typically comprises 20% or less of the
vegetation cover in woodlands dominated by oak (Quercus spp.), beech (Fagus spp.), alder
(Alnus spp.), willow (Salix spp.), birch (Betula spp.), and hawthorn (Crataegus
spp.). It is a common associate of the ash-maple (Fraxinus spp.-Acer spp.) plant community
in the Primula vulgaris-Glechoma hederacea sub-community where it can comprise 41% to
60% of the vegetation cover. It comprises 20% or less of the vegetation cover in scrublands associated with blackberry (Rubus spp.) and up to 40% of the vegetation cover in a bracken fern (Pteridium
aquilium) dominated community [91]. Ground-ivy is an occasional component in mesic grassland communities characterized by sheep fescue (Festuca ovina) and colonial bentgrass (Agrostis capillaris) [92].
It is a minor component in fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) dominated communities in damp, fertile
soils on disturbed, often burned ground associated with woodlands, heaths, and human activities
(e.g., train tracks, recreational sites, roads). In maritime-influenced plant communities, it can comprise
1% to 20% of the vegetation cover in a few sand dune communities and communities dominated by stinging
nettle (Urtica dioica) [93].
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Ground Ivy is occasional to locally common in most areas of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings of floodplain forests, semi-shaded areas along rivers, powerline clearances in woodland areas, cemeteries, lawns and gardens, and miscellaneous waste areas. This plant can withstand regular mowing, but flourishes better without it. It prefers disturbed areas, but occasionally invades higher quality natural areas. Sometimes homeowners tolerate its presence in lawns because they like the flowers. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat & Distribution

Valley grasslands. Xinjiang (Gongliu Xian) [Russia; Europe]
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Ground Ivy in Illinois

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Foodplant / open feeder
gregarious larva of Athalia lineolata grazes on leaf (underside) of Glechoma hederacea

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Chrysolina violacea grazes on live leaf of Glechoma hederacea
Remarks: season: 3-9
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / gall
larva of Dasineura glechomae causes gall of live Glechoma hederacea

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
cleistothecium of Erysiphe biocellata parasitises live Glechoma hederacea
Other: minor host/prey

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Limacella delicata var. vinosorubescens is associated with Glechoma hederacea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Liposthenes latreillei causes gall of live leaf of Glechoma hederacea

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Meligethes ovatus feeds on Glechoma hederacea

Foodplant / parasite
cleistothecium of Neoerysiphe galeopsidis parasitises live Glechoma hederacea
Remarks: season: Spring

Foodplant / shot hole causer
epiphyllous, scattered pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phyllosticta glechomae causes shot holes on live leaf of Glechoma hederacea
Remarks: season: 8-10

Foodplant / miner
larva of Phytomyza glechomae mines leaf of Glechoma hederacea
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / gall
telium of Puccinia glechomatis causes gall of live petiole of Glechoma hederacea

Foodplant / spot causer
hypophyllous colony of Ramularia anamorph of Ramularia glechomatis causes spots on live leaf of Glechoma hederacea
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / gall
larva of Rondaniola bursaria causes gall of live leaf of Glechoma hederacea

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: cover, prescribed fire, shrubs

The limited information on ground-ivy's postfire response suggests that fire may damage it but may not control it. Fire will likely damage ground-ivy stolons, meristem tissue, and shallow roots, but this species' ability to establish on open disturbed sites (see Successional Status) suggests that fire might create favorable conditions for ground-ivy establishment and/or spread.

In central New York, researchers combined mechanical and fire treatments to control invasive shrubs in a grassland that had been treated with rotational mowing and prescribed fire for at least 10 years. In 2001, prior to treatment, 2 plots chosen for low-intensity prescribed fire had little (2.8% of vegetation cover) or no ground-ivy. After alternating treatments of mowing/cutting and prescribed fire over a 2-year period, ground-ivy cover increased on both plots to 5.3% and 11.4% respectively. A third plot, that was mowed but not burned, experienced a similar increase (from 0% to 12.5% of the vegetation cover) in ground-ivy cover. Ground-ivy also increased on an untreated control plot but to a lesser degree (from 1.1% to 2.3%) [90]. Ground-ivy's ability to persist and increase on treated plots suggests that neither mowing alone, nor the combination of burning and mowing/cutting, adversely impacted its survival.

  • 90. Richburg, Julie A. 2005. Timing treatments to the phenology of root carbohydrate reserves to control woody invasive plants. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation. 175 p. Dissertation. [60265]

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Fuels and Fire Regimes

More info for the terms: fire regime, fuel, hardwood, natural, shrub

Fuels: As of 2009, information pertaining to ground-ivy's fuel properties and potential to alter fire behavior or FIRE REGIMES is lacking.

FIRE REGIMES: As of 2009, information describing FIRE REGIMES associated with ground-ivy is limited and it is unknown whether invasive populations of ground-ivy can alter FIRE REGIMES. Available literature suggests that in North America, ground-ivy is most common in moist deciduous forests, eastern white pine/mixed hardwood forests, and riparian areas in the northeastern, Great Lakes, and southern Appalachian Mountain regions of the United States (see Habitat Types and Plant Communities). Deciduous forests and pine/mixed hardwood forests in this region typically have long fire-return intervals that have been estimated from several hundred to greater than 1,000 years and can be of stand-replacement, mixed-severity, or surface types. Although stand-replacing disturbances are more often caused by natural events other than fire (e.g., hurricanes, ice storms) in these areas, fire has likely played a role in shaping the structure and composition of the vegetation [134]. The historical role of fire in riparian communities is unclear. Riparian vegetation in the United States is often dominated by hardwoods and/or conifers with a dense shrub layer [65,134]. For theses communities, fire typically has longer intervals and is less severe, especially in moister forest types [23]; however, in some cases it can be frequent [134]. See the Fire Regime Table for more detail on FIRE REGIMES in plant communities where ground-ivy may occur.

  • 23. Dwire, Kathleen A.; Kauffman, J. Boone. 2003. Fire and riparian ecosystems in landscapes of the western USA. In: Young, Michael K.; Gresswell, Robert E.; Luce, Charles H., eds. Selected papers from an international symposium on effects of wildland fire on aquatic ecosystems in the western USA; 2002 April 22-24; Boise, ID. In: Forest Ecology and Management. Special Issue: The effects of wildland fire on aquatic ecosystems in the western USA. New York: Elsevier Science B. V; 178(1-2): 61-74. [44923]
  • 134. Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler; Sutherland, Steve; Brooks, Matthew L. 2008. Wildland fire in ecosystems: fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rem. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 355 p. [70897]
  • 65. LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment. 2007. Rapid assessment reference condition models, [Online]. In: LANDFIRE. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab; U.S. Geological Survey; The Nature Conservancy (Producers). Available: http://www.landfire.gov/models_EW.php [2008, April 18] [66533]

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Successional Status

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More info for the terms: cover, density, frequency, ramet, restoration, tree

Detailed information about ground-ivy's successional patterns in its native and nonnative ranges is lacking; however, available data suggests it can adapt to a variety of light regimes and establishes well on disturbed sites.

Shade tolerance: Several morphological adaptations may allow ground-ivy to thrive in shade (see Growth). In the United States, ground-ivy has been commonly reported growing in the shade of forests [40,47,56,70,86,119] and thickets [45,94,107,118], and a few studies indicate that ground-ivy may have a preference for shade [38,86]. In a riparian forest in Maryland, frequency of ground-ivy was greatest on the site with the lowest light levels [86]. Ground-ivy made up about 0.7% of the vegetation cover in a 50- to 100-year-old oak (Quercus spp.) forest in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia that had not been managed for the past 15 to 25 years [38]. A study in England determined that frequency of ground-ivy increased significantly (P<0.05) over a 30-year period after tree harvesting was reduced [15]. In Great Britain, ground-ivy can establish under the dense shade of dog's mercury (Mercurialis perennis) [91].

While ground-ivy may be shade tolerant, its distribution does not appear to be age-sensitive or restricted to older forests [115]. In North America, ground-ivy can grow in full sunlight [113], and in Great Britain it is found growing in habitats in nearly full sun [51]. Ground-ivy's ability to establish and dominate on sites of variable light availability suggests that there may be factors besides shade that influence this species' ability to establish at various successional stages.

Increased shade may limit growth and reproduction of ground-ivy. In a laboratory, increases in the percentage of far-red light, typically associated with canopy shading, may decrease germination in ground-ivy (C.P.D. Birch, unpublished data, as cited in [51]). In the United Kingdom, researchers found that more flowers develop on clones growing on open sites; however, seed set was greatest in shaded habitats (review by [51]). Some researchers in England have observed the total elimination of ground-ivy with increasing canopy cover. Ground-ivy ceased to persist in a thinned woodland 3 years after thinning operations had been completed, suggesting that increased canopy cover may have inhibited its growth [2].

Establishment and persistence on disturbed sites: Several attributes make ground-ivy an effective invader of disturbed sites. Successful establishment of ground-ivy on disturbed sites may be facilitated through rapid stoloniferous growth and subsequent ramet production if a clone is nearby [6]. In a laboratory setting, fragmented stolons with a sufficient root system rapidly developed into physiologically autonomous segments, a characteristic that might enable ground-ivy to exploit disturbed habitats [7]. Ground-ivy has the ability to adapt morphologically to changes in the environment (e.g., light, nutrients) [99,102], giving it an advantage in variable conditions typically associated with disturbance. Its ability to produce greater mass under heterogeneous growing conditions [6] (see Growth) may make it a strong competitor on disturbed sites. Ground-ivy can also establish and grow in heavily compacted soils [32,91], which are often associated with disturbed sites.

Information pertaining to ground-ivy's persistence and density following disturbance is limited. Ground-ivy occurred in 1 or more hurricane impacted plots in a deciduous forest in North Carolina 4 years after the hurricane [109]. In another region of North Carolina, ground-ivy was found in a deciduous urban riparian forest invaded by English ivy (Hedera helix) that experienced intense recreational pressure [116]. In New York, ground-ivy was a dominant species in a fallow field where cultivation had ceased for approximately 20 years but mowing continued [81]. It was commonly found in portions of the floodplain on the Potomac River that were greater than 3.3 feet (1 m) from the water's edge [86]. Ground-ivy established in a recently planted tallgrass prairie restoration site in Illinois that had been previously cultivated [48].

  • 2. Ash, J. E.; Barkham, J. P. 1976. Changes and variability in the field layer of a coppiced woodland in Norfolk, England. The Journal of Ecology. 64(2): 697-712. [73307]
  • 6. Birch, C. P. D.; Hutchings, M. J. 1994. Exploitation of patchily distributed soil resources by the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 82(3): 653-664. [71794]
  • 7. Birch, Colin P. D.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1999. Clonal segmentation: the development of physiological independence within stolons of Glochoma hederacea L. (Lamiaceae). Plant Ecology. 141(1-2): 12-31. [71795]
  • 32. Godefroid, S.; Koedam, N. 2004. Interspecific variation in soil compaction sensitivity among forest floor species. Biological Conservation. 119(2): 207-217. [71803]
  • 38. Hammond, Daniel N. 1997. Characterization of vascular plant species composition and relative abundance in southern Appalachian mixed-oak forests. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 113 p. Thesis. [54881]
  • 40. Haragan, Patricia Dalton. 1991. Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states: A field guide. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. 278 p. [72646]
  • 45. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 48. Howe, Henry F. 1994. Response of early- and late-flowering plants to fire season in experimental prairies. Ecological Applications. 4(1): 121-133. [27810]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 56. Kearsley, Jennifer. 1999. Inventory and vegetation classification of floodplain forest communities in Massachusetts. Rhodora. 101(906): 105-135. [35963]
  • 70. Luken, James O. 2003. Invasions of forests in the eastern United States. In: Gilliam, Frank S.; Roberts, Mark R., eds. The herbaceous layer in forests of eastern North America. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc: 283-400. [71484]
  • 81. Ostfeld, Richard S., Canham, Charles D. 1995. Density-dependent processes in meadow voles: an experimental approach. Ecology. 76(2): 521-532. [72677]
  • 86. Pyle, Laura L. 1995. Effects of disturbance on herbaceous exotic plant species on the floodplain of the Potomac River. The American Midland Naturalist. 134: 244-253. [26182]
  • 91. Rodwell, J. S.; Pigott, C. D.; Ratcliffe, D. A.; Malloch, A. J. C.; Birks, H. J. B.; Proctor, M. C. F.; Shimwell, D. W.; Huntley, J. P.; Radford, E.; Wigginton, M. J.; Wilkins, P. 1991. British plant communities. Volume 1: Woodlands and scrub. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 395 p. [72970]
  • 94. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 99. Slade, A. J.; Hutchings, M. J. 1987. The effects of light intensity on foraging in the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 75(3): 639-650. [71834]
  • 102. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1987. The effects of nutrient availability on foraging in the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 75(1): 95-112. [71835]
  • 107. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 109. Taverna, Kristin; Peet, Robert K.; Phillips, Laura C. 2005. Long-term change in ground-layer vegetation of deciduous forests of the North Carolina Piedmont, USA. Journal of Ecology. 93: 202-213. [51495]
  • 113. Uva, Richard H.; Neal, Joseph C., DiTomaso, Joseph M., eds. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. New York: Cornell University Press. 397 p. [72430]
  • 115. Verheyen, Kris; Hermy, Martin. 2001. The relative importance of dispersal limitation of vascular plants in secondary forest succession in Muizen Forest, Belgium. Journal of Ecology. 89(5): 829-840. [71840]
  • 116. Vidra, Rebecca L.; Shear, Theodore H.; Wentworth, Thomas R. 2006. Testing the paradigms of exotic species invasion in urban riparian forests. Natural Areas Journal. 26(4): 339-350. [65080]
  • 118. Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan flora. Part III: Dicots (Pyrolaceae--Compositae). Bulletin 61: Cranbrook Institute of Science; University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan. 622 p. [30401]
  • 119. Walters, Gary L.; Williams, Charles E. 1999. Riparian forest overstory and herbaceous layer of two upper Allegheny River islands in northwestern Pennsylvania. Castanea. 64(1): 81-89. [37387]
  • 15. Crampton, A. B.; Stutter, O.; Kirby, K. J.; Welch, R. C. 1998. Changes in the composition of Monks Wood National Nature Reserve (Cambridgeshire, UK) 1964-1996. Arboricultural Journal. 22(3): 229-245. [71799]
  • 47. Holmes, Kathryn L.; Semko-Duncan, Marie; Goebel, P. Charles. 2004. Temporal changes in spring ground-flora communities across riparian areas in a north-central Ohio old-growth forest. In: Yaussy, Daniel; Hix, David M.; Goebel, P. Charles; Long, Robert P., eds. Proceedings, 14th central hardwood forest conference; 2004 March 16-19; Wooster, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-316. Newton Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station: 335-343. [CD]. [49747]

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Vegetative regeneration

Ground-ivy is a clonal species and has a great capacity to regenerate vegetatively. Upright branches become structurally weak, bend to a horizontal position, and start to develop roots and rosette buds at some of the nodes. Under suitable conditions, these buds give rise to horizontal stolons and ramets [103,125]. Additionally, fragmented stolons can develop into physiologically independent units capable of continued growth [7].
  • 7. Birch, Colin P. D.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1999. Clonal segmentation: the development of physiological independence within stolons of Glochoma hederacea L. (Lamiaceae). Plant Ecology. 141(1-2): 12-31. [71795]
  • 103. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1989. Within- and between-population variation in ramet behaviour in the gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(3): 633-639. [71829]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]

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Seed banking

More info for the terms: density, frequency, presence, restoration

Research pertaining to ground-ivy's seed bank longevity, density, and vertical distribution in the soil differs in methods, location, and emphasis, making it difficult to derive specific inferences from. Some ground-ivy seeds apparently go through a period of physiological dormancy before they germinate (review by [4]), suggesting potential for at least short-term persistence in the soil seed bank (see Germination). Additional research is necessary to understand ground-ivy's seed banking potential in North America.

As of 2009, only two studies were found from North America that included seed banking information for ground-ivy. Using a seedling emergence method, ground-ivy was found in both the aboveground vegetation and the soil seed bank in an abandoned cultivated field undergoing restoration; however, researchers did not indicate to what extent ground-ivy was present in either stratum or report the estimated age of the seed [68]. Although ground-ivy was present in the aboveground vegetation in a Pennsylvania forest, it failed to germinate from core samples collected from the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil from the site [66].

Available English language literature from Europe suggests ground-ivy's longevity in the soil seed bank may be highly variable; however, many studies failed to report to what extent ground-ivy occurred in the existing vegetation, making it difficult to draw conclusions about ground-ivy seed bank longevity. A review of seed bank literature in northwestern Europe [111] cites several studies suggesting that ground-ivy has only a transient soil seed bank (seeds persist for less than 1 year). A 20-year study on soil seed banking potential of weeds in a cultivated field in England found that ground-ivy seeds failed to germinate after the first 4 years of the study; however, continuous cultivation and herbicide treatments in this field may have influenced ground-ivy's persistence, seed dispersal, and seed longevity [13]. Other evidence indicates that ground-ivy seeds may remain viable in the soil for longer periods under some conditions. Researchers in Russia found viable ground-ivy seed buried at soil depths from 1.6 to 2.4 inches (4-6 cm) in a spruce plantation that was approximately 40 years old (Petrov and Palkina 1983, as cited in [51]). In an arable field in the United Kingdom, researchers found viable ground-ivy seeds at soil depths from 0 to 4.7 inches (0-12 cm) about 19 years after cultivation had ceased (Stag 1996, as cited in [51]). In 1963, excavation of a 460-year old monastery site uncovered viable ground-ivy seeds at soil depths between 21 and 29 inches (52-73 cm). The monastery and its associated buildings were gone by the mid-1500s but the land continued to be cultivated until 1935, suggesting that the ground-ivy seed found on this site is a remnant of recent cultivation activities rather than persistent in the soil for 460 years [80].

Reports on ground-ivy seed bank densities and the vertical distribution of its seeds in the soil are variable. A literature review on seed banks in northwestern Europe cites several reports on soil seed bank densities for ground-ivy. Seed densities ranged from 0 to 281 seeds/m² for various soil depths. However, the review did not report to what extent ground-ivy occurred in the aboveground vegetation, making it difficult to infer to what extent existing vegetation influenced seed banking. Additionally, different methodologies were used among studies, making comparison of the data difficult [111]. In a laboratory in Estonia, 17 ground-ivy seedlings emerged from a 4-inch³ (~63 cm³) soil core collected at a depth of about 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) from an early-successional (20- to 25-year-old) forest clearcut [132]. Stag (1996, as cited in [51]) determined that ground-ivy seed densities were greatest in the late summer, especially in the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil.

Number of ground-ivy seeds germinating from soils collected in East Sussex, United Kingdom in 1992 (Stag 1996, as cited in [51]).
Depth (cm) Density of seeds/m²
April August November February
0-4 24 80 12 21
4-8 5 60 3 13
8-12 6 52 3 7

Available evidence suggests that seed bank densities for ground-ivy may be site specific and influenced by localized environmental factors, making them difficult to characterize. Factors that may influence ground-ivy seed occurrence and densities include abundance of ground-ivy in the aboveground vegetation, frequency of flooding [114], soil acidity, shade, land management practices [120], and age of seed [80]. However, the presence and abundance of ground-ivy in the aboveground vegetation may not correspond to its presence and abundance in the soil seed bank [66,114].

  • 4. Baskin, Carol C.; Baskin, Jerry M. 2001. Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 666 p. [60775]
  • 13. Chancellor, R. J. 1985. Changes in the weed flora of an arable field cultivated for 20 years. The Journal of Applied Ecology. 22(2): 491-501. [72723]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 66. Laughlin, Daniel C. 2003. Lack of native propagules in a Pennsylvania, USA, limestone prairie seed bank: futile hopes for a role in ecological restoration. Natural Areas Journal. 23(2): 158-164. [44593]
  • 68. Leary, Cathlene I.; Howes-Kieffer, Carolyn. 2004. Comparison of standing vegetation and seed bank composition one year following hardwood reforestation in southwestern Ohio. Ohio Journal of Science. 104(2): 20-28. [52854]
  • 80. Odum, Soren. 1965. Germination of ancient seeds: Floristical observations and experiments with archaeologically dated soil samples. Dansk Botanisk Arkiv. 24(2): 1-70. [70326]
  • 111. Thompson, Ken; Bakker, Jan P.; Bekker, Renee M. 1997. The soil seed banks of north west Europe: methodology, density and longevity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 276 p. [65467]
  • 114. Vecrin, M. P.; Grevilliot, F.; Muller, S. 2007. The contribution of persistent soil seed banks and flooding to the restoration of alluvial meadows. Journal for Nature Conservation. 15(1): 59-69. [67387]
  • 120. Warr, Susan J.; Kent, Martin; Thompson, Ken. 1994. Seed bank composition and variability in five woodlands in south-west England. Journal of Biogeography. 21(2): 151-168. [50748]
  • 132. Zobel, Martin; Kalamees, Rein; Pussa, Kersti; Roosaluste, Elle; Moora, Mari. 2007. Soil seed bank and vegetation in mixed coniferous forest stands with different disturbance regimes. Forest Ecology and Management. 250(1-2): 71-76. [68193]

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Seed production

More info for the term: ramet

Populations of ground-ivy produce "large quantities" of viable seeds [51,124]. Each flower produces up to 4 seeds [51]. Seed production may be influenced by plant sex or pollen availability [103,124]. In England, ramets on female clones growing in a grassland produced significantly fewer (P<0.01) flowers than ramets on hermaphroditic clones at the same site. Additionally, a greater proportion of hermaphroditic ramets produced seed compared to female ramets [103]. In Sweden, the number of flowers produced per ramet in a wild population of ground-ivy was similar for both sexes (~12 flowers/ramet) but seed set was significantly lower (P<0.001) in female clones (6.1%) than in hermaphroditic clones (44%). Seed set may be lower in female clones, due to limited pollen availability [124].
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 103. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1989. Within- and between-population variation in ramet behaviour in the gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(3): 633-639. [71829]
  • 124. Widen, Bjorn; Widen, Marie. 1990. Pollen limitation and distance-dependent fecundity in females of the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oecologia. 83(2): 191-196. [71841]

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Pollination and breeding system

More info for the terms: gynodioecious, natural, protandrous

Ground-ivy is gynodioecious and clones are classified as either hermaphroditic or female (male-sterile flowers) [124,125]. Clones bearing only male-sterile flowers are thought to be more common in the United States than hermaphroditic types [16,46,107]. Occasionally the same clone will produce both hermaphroditic and male-sterile flowers [127]. Hermaphroditic plants produce more flowers, and the flowers are larger than those produced on female clones [124].

Hermaphroditic flowers on ground-ivy are protandrous and typically considered self-compatible when artificially pollinated [124,125], but self-compatibility is questionable in wild populations [3,30,124]. Cross pollination occurs between flowers on hermaphroditic clones and flowers on female clones [124,125]. Visitation from an insect is likely necessary for natural pollination to occur, even if hermaphroditic flowers are self-compatible [51,124]. In the northeastern United States, honeybees were the principal nectar feeders at ground-ivy [104]. In Sweden, the most frequent pollinators observed on ground-ivy were bumblebees, but honeybees, syrphids, beetles, and ants were also occasionally reported. For female plants, pollination rates and subsequent fruit and seed set were negatively correlated with increased distance to pollen source. Mean pollen dispersal distance for ground-ivy was estimated at 19 feet (5.9 m) when based on fruit set and 17 feet (5.3 m) when based on seed set. Pollination may not occur in female clones if the distance to a pollen source (i.e., hermaphroditic clone) is greater than about 330 feet (100 m) [124].

Sex-expression of a clone may not be entirely genetically based; environmental conditions or resource availability may influence its expression. In Europe, 8 purportedly female clones, which had already initiated flowering, were transferred to a greenhouse. Within 3 weeks, 4 of the clones produced "considerable numbers" of hermaphroditic flowers (Price 1991, as cited in [51]).

  • 3. Bare, Janet E. 1979. Wildflowers and weeds of Kansas. Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 509 p. [3801]
  • 16. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 30. Gill, L. S. 1979. Cytotaxonomic studies of the tribe Nepeteae (Labiatae) in Canada. Genetica. 50: 111-118. [72720]
  • 46. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 104. Southwick, Edward E.; Loper, Gerald M.; Sadwick, Steven E. 1981. Nectar production, composition, energetics and pollinator attractiveness in spring flowers of western New York. American Journal of Botany. 68(7): 994-1002. [48575]
  • 107. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 124. Widen, Bjorn; Widen, Marie. 1990. Pollen limitation and distance-dependent fecundity in females of the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oecologia. 83(2): 191-196. [71841]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]
  • 127. Widen, Marie; Widen, Bjorn. 1999. Sex expression in the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 77(12): 1689-1698. [71846]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: breeding system

Unless otherwise stated, information pertaining to ground-ivy's regenerative processes is primarily limited to research from its native range. However, because these experiments were typically conducted in controlled laboratory settings, information regarding regenerative processes is likely applicable to most regions in which ground-ivy occurs.

Ground-ivy reproduces primarily by vegetative means [103,125]. Although seedling establishment is likely rare in many habitats ([103], Grimes and others 1988 as cited in [51]), considerable quantities of resources are allocated to flower and seed production [51,103,125].

  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 103. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1989. Within- and between-population variation in ramet behaviour in the gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(3): 633-639. [71829]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

Raunkiaer [88] life form:
Hemicryptophyte
  • 88. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Fire Regime Table

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Seed dispersal

Ground-ivy seeds are dispersed primarily by gravity [8,77,124,125] and may be further distributed by ants and other animals ([8], Grime and others 1988 as cited in [115]). As the fruit matures, the calyx bends down and the seeds fall to the ground near the parent plant [124,125]. No additional information is given regarding dispersal by ants or other animals. However, Grime and others [36] note that seeds of ground-ivy lack surface appendages or hairs that would aid in dispersal.
  • 8. Bouman, F.; Meeuse, A. D. J. 1992. Dispersal in Labiatae. In: Harley, R. M.; Reynolds, T., eds. Advances in Labiate science. Kew, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens: 193-202. [73166]
  • 36. Grime, J. P.; Mason, G.; Curtis, A. V.; Rodman, J.; Band, S. R.; Mowforth, M. A. G.; Neal, A. M.; Shaw, S. 1981. A comparative study of germination characteristics in a local flora. The Journal of Ecology. 69(3): 1017-1059. [70060]
  • 77. Moffatt, S. F.; McLachlan, S. M. 2004. Understorey indicators of disturbance for riparian forests along an urban-rural gradient in Manitoba. Ecological Indicators. 4: 1-16. [51154]
  • 115. Verheyen, Kris; Hermy, Martin. 2001. The relative importance of dispersal limitation of vascular plants in secondary forest succession in Muizen Forest, Belgium. Journal of Ecology. 89(5): 829-840. [71840]
  • 124. Widen, Bjorn; Widen, Marie. 1990. Pollen limitation and distance-dependent fecundity in females of the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oecologia. 83(2): 191-196. [71841]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: density, phase, ramet, stolon

In Great Britain, overwintering structures of ground-ivy begin to grow in the spring [103]. In general, 2-leaved ramets grow vegetatively, while rosettes typically elongate and produce vertical, flowering branches (Clapham and others 1962, as cited in [103]). This vertical growth typically occurs between March and June in conjunction with flowering [6]. During the flowering phase, the upright branches depend on the root system associated with the original rosettes for soil resources [103]. Flowering times for a portion of ground-ivy's range are given in the table below.

Reported flowering periods for ground-ivy by geographic area
Area Reported flowering period
North America
California March-May [79]
Carolinas flowers March-June; fruits May-July [87]
Florida spring-fall [131]
Georgia (DeKalb County) mid-February-mid-March [27]
Illinois April-July [78]
Kansas April-May [3]
Kentucky April-June [40]
Texas April-June [19]
West Virginia April-July [107]
Adirondacks May-June [61]
Blue Ridge Province March-June [129]
Great Plains April-June [35]
Intermountain West April-June [16]
New England early May-early July [97]
Northeast April-June [31]
Pacific Northwest April-June [46]
Canada (Manitoba) September-November [77]
Other Countries
China May [130]
Czech Republic May-June [59]
Great Britain March-August [51,76,103]; occasionally year-round [67]
Japan April-May [26]
southern Sweden May-July [124,125]

After flowering, ground-ivy's upright branches continue to grow. These branches become structurally weak and bend to the ground, where they root and spread horizontally (see Vegetative regeneration) [103,124,125]. The original rosette may continue to produce stolons and ramets [6,103]. A study in Great Britain found that the density of ramets declined throughout the fall due to frost, and all cohorts typically died by year end. The ramet population of the following year emerged primarily in the fall and had low mortality during winter [103]. In regions near the Czech Republic, annual stolons usually fragment by early spring [59] and in Sweden, stolon connections between ramets typically decay after the growing season, making it difficult to distinguish whether 2 or more ramets belong to the same clone [124,125,127].

  • 97. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2nd ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 3. Bare, Janet E. 1979. Wildflowers and weeds of Kansas. Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 509 p. [3801]
  • 61. Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p. [19376]
  • 6. Birch, C. P. D.; Hutchings, M. J. 1994. Exploitation of patchily distributed soil resources by the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 82(3): 653-664. [71794]
  • 16. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 31. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 35. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 40. Haragan, Patricia Dalton. 1991. Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states: A field guide. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. 278 p. [72646]
  • 46. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 59. Klimes, Leos. 1997. Variation in autumnal growth of hemaphroditic clones of Glechoma hederacea originating from two geographical regions and two habitats. Preslia. 69(2): 175-183. [71812]
  • 76. Mitich, L. W. 1994. The intriguing world of weeds. Ground ivy. Weed Technology. 8(2): 413-415. [71816]
  • 77. Moffatt, S. F.; McLachlan, S. M. 2004. Understorey indicators of disturbance for riparian forests along an urban-rural gradient in Manitoba. Ecological Indicators. 4: 1-16. [51154]
  • 79. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924]
  • 87. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 103. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1989. Within- and between-population variation in ramet behaviour in the gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(3): 633-639. [71829]
  • 107. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 124. Widen, Bjorn; Widen, Marie. 1990. Pollen limitation and distance-dependent fecundity in females of the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oecologia. 83(2): 191-196. [71841]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]
  • 127. Widen, Marie; Widen, Bjorn. 1999. Sex expression in the clonal gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 77(12): 1689-1698. [71846]
  • 129. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 131. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 19. Diggs, George M., Jr.; Lipscomb, Barney L.; O'Kennon, Robert J. 1999. Illustrated flora of north-central Texas. Sida Botanical Miscellany, No. 16. Fort Worth, TX: Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 1626 p. [35698]
  • 27. Funderbuck, David O.; Skeen, James N. 1976. Spring phenology in a mature peidmont forest. Castanea. 41(1): 20-30. [71755]
  • 67. le Strange, Richard. 1977. A history of herbal plants. New York: Arco Publishing Company, Inc. 304 p. [72966]
  • 26. Flora of Japan Database Project. 2009. Flora of Japan, [Online]. Japanese Society for Plant Systematist (Producer). Available: http://foj.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/gbif/ [72815]
  • 78. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]
  • 130. Wu, Z. Y.; Raven, P. H.; Hong, D. Y., eds. 2009. Flora of China, [Online]. Volumes 1-25. Beijing: Science Press; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. In: eFloras. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 and http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china. [72954]

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Growth

More info for the terms: competition, density, ramet, stolon

Growth: Literature pertaining to ground-ivy's growth is limited to information derived in its native range. Primary stolons develop from the axillary buds at the base of each ramet [52], and growth occurs through rapid stolon extension and additional ramet production [51]. In a greenhouse, stolon extension rate ranged from 0.75 to 1.1 inches/day (1.9 and 2.9 cm/day), and ramets were produced at a rate of approximately 2/week [5]. However, ground-ivy does not typically flower in greenhouse conditions [52,102], suggesting that its growth rate may be slower in wild populations where some energy is allocated to flowering.

A greenhouse study on ground-ivy growth determined that maintenance of stolon connections in ground-ivy was advantageous to growth and ramet survival [100]. However, another greenhouse study found that fragmented ground-ivy stolons can develop into physiologically independent units capable of continued growth [7]. Growth on fragmented stolons was associated with a smaller ramet size but greater ramet density than on intact stolons [100]; however, ramet production on fragmented stolons may be limited if fewer than 5 rooted ramets remain [7].

Greenhouse studies in England found that ground-ivy's morphology was highly plastic in response to resource availability. When compared to plants grown in unshaded, nutrient-rich environments, plants grown where light and nutrients were limited had decreased stolon branching, leaf area, and ramet production [99,100,102,128] and increased internode and petiole length [99,100,101,102,128].

Interspecific competition for resources may also influence ground-ivy growth. In the greenhouse, ground-ivy's morphology changed in response to competition from perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) for soil resources and light. Plants grown with uncut perennial ryegrass exhibited decreased ramet production, stolon branching, and secondary stolon production, and increased internode and petiole length, when compared to ground-ivy plants grown without competition [85]. On an experimental site in Germany, DaBler and others [18] observed that leaf area ratio (total leaf area per total dry mass per shoot) of ground-ivy increased in response to increased competition for light when grown with species common to Central European semi-natural grasslands.

Ground-ivy may be more productive in heterogeneous growing conditions (patchy nutrient distribution) when compared to homogenous conditions (uniform nutrient distribution) [6,51]. In the greenhouse, Birch and Hutchings [6] reported that the overall biomass of ground-ivy grown in heterogeneous nutrient conditions was over 2.5 times greater than biomass of plants grown in homogeneous habitats providing the same quantity of nutrients. Eighty percent of ground-ivy's root biomass was concentrated at nodes associated with localized patches of nutrient-rich soil (peat-based potting compost), suggesting that nutrient heterogeneity may influence root establishment and growth in ground-ivy. Roots also developed earlier and grew longer in plots with heterogeneous soil resources compared to those with homogeneous soil resources [6]. Ramets developing on localized sites with fewer resources seldom sprouted roots at the node. In another greenhouse experiment, Farley and Fritter [24] reported that specific root length (m/g root dry weight) of ground-ivy was greater in patchy nutrient enriched soils compared to patches of unenriched soils, although the difference was not significant. Root length density (km of root/m³) was more likely to increase in medium to large patches of enriched soil versus smaller patches [24]. Clones rooted in heterogeneous soils may translocate resources from older to newer ramets. This allows ramets in nutrient-rich patches to transport resources to ramets established in less favorable growing conditions, thereby increasing their chances for survival [101].

  • 5. Birch, C. P. D.; Hutchings, M. J. 1992. Stolon growth and branching in Glechoma hederacea L.: an application of a plastochron index. New Phytologist. 122(3): 545-551. [72993]
  • 6. Birch, C. P. D.; Hutchings, M. J. 1994. Exploitation of patchily distributed soil resources by the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 82(3): 653-664. [71794]
  • 7. Birch, Colin P. D.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1999. Clonal segmentation: the development of physiological independence within stolons of Glochoma hederacea L. (Lamiaceae). Plant Ecology. 141(1-2): 12-31. [71795]
  • 18. DaBler, A.; Roscher, C.; Temperton, V. M.; Schumacher, J.; Schulze, E.-D. 2008. Adaptive survival mechanisms and growth limitations of small-stature herb species across a plant diversity gradient. Plant Biology. 10(5): 573-587. [71856]
  • 24. Farley, R. A.; Fitter, A. H. 1999. The responses of seven co-occurring woodland herbaceous perennials to localized nutrient-rich patches. Journal of Ecology. 87(5): 849-859. [71801]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 52. Hutchings, Michael J.; Slade, Andrew J. 1988. Morphological plasticity, foraging and integration in clonal perennial herbs. In: Davy, A. J.; Hutchings, M. J.; Watkinson, A. R., eds. Symposium of the British Ecological Society: No. 28. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications: 83-119. [73232]
  • 85. Price, Elizabeth A. C.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1996. The effects of competition on growth and form in Glechoma hederacea. Oikos. 75(2): 279-290. [71820]
  • 99. Slade, A. J.; Hutchings, M. J. 1987. The effects of light intensity on foraging in the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 75(3): 639-650. [71834]
  • 100. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1987. An analysis of the influence of clone size and stolon connections between ramets on the growth of Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). New Phytologist. 106(4): 759-771. [71831]
  • 101. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1987. Clonal integration and plasticity in foraging behaviour in Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 75(4): 1023-1036. [71832]
  • 102. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1987. The effects of nutrient availability on foraging in the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 75(1): 95-112. [71835]
  • 128. Wijesinghe, Dushyantha K.; Hutchings, Michaeal J. 1996. Consequences of patchy distribution of light for the growth of the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Oikos. 77(1): 137-145. [71848]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Glechoma hederacea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 19
Specimens with Barcodes: 27
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Information on state-level noxious weed status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

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Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

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Management

Impacts and Control

More info for the terms: cover, fire management, invasive species, mesic, natural, prescribed fire, shrubs

Impacts: Although ground-ivy is found throughout much of North America, north of Mexico, no specific information was available as of this writing (2009) regarding its impacts on native plant communities and ecological processes across this range. The lack of data pertaining to ground-ivy's impacts suggests that it may be less invasive and widespread than other invasive species that have been well documented. However, ground-ivy's ability to exploit heterogeneous resources [6,51], allelopathic potential [89], ability to regenerate vegetatively [7,103,125], and its early bloom time may provide opportunity for it to spread into native plant communities. The shade-tolerant nature of ground-ivy makes it problematic because it can invade under a forest canopy (see Shade tolerance)

A few regional weed publications and floras have reported on ground-ivy invasiveness. In Connecticut, distribution of ground-ivy is banned because of its invasive potential [112]. In Virginia, ground-ivy is ranked as a "moderately invasive species" in mesic, partly sunny to shaded habitats. Species ranked as moderately invasive may have a minor influence on ecosystem processes, alter plant community composition, and affect community structure. Usually some type of disturbance is necessary for these species to establish, and they may dominate the understory layer [117]. In Kentucky, ground-ivy is considered a "significant threat" that may have the capacity to invade natural plant communities associated with disturbance [57]. Ground-ivy is ranked as a Category B invasive plant in Missouri. Species in this category are occasional invaders of native plant communities in Missouri or are invasive in other states with similar habitats, but with generally low levels of impact [75]. In the upper midwestern United States, ground-ivy is categorized as a lesser invader in forests and woodlands and "is generally not a threat to established native plant communities except along woodland edges" [17]. In the Intermountain West area of the United States ground-ivy is described as "too aggressive for most areas" [46]. In Canada, ground-ivy is considered a potential threat to native habitats and is listed as a species of concern [12], and in Nova Scotia, it can be "almost impossible to eradicate" around sites associated with human habitation [94].

Ground-ivy's greatest impact may be to lawns and turfgrass [3,35,43,45,60,74,118] where it can form dense mats that eliminate desirable vegetation [17,105]. In Ohio, ground-ivy was reported to "grow like mad" in home lawns [28]. It disrupts turf uniformity and is difficult to control in these environments [60]. While reports suggest ground-ivy can grow in full sunlight, some turf care professionals report that it usually prefers shaded turf [105]. Ground-ivy has become such a nuisance to the turf management industry that research has been launched to evaluate different control methods for ground-ivy [60].

Control: Information related to the control of ground-ivy has been derived primarily from the turfgrass maintenance industry but may have some application to wildlands.

Fire: For information on the use of prescribed fire to control ground-ivy see Fire Management Considerations.

Prevention: As of 2009, no information is available on this topic.

Cultural control: The turfgrass industry has suggested that the use of shade-tolerant grasses and other species that are better adapted to shade may deter ground-ivy's spread in turfgrass [105].

Physical or mechanical control: Ground-ivy's ability to regenerate vegetatively (see Vegetative regeneration) makes it hard to control by physical or mechanical means. Turfgrass researchers assert that extensive rooting from stolons would make mechanical control difficult [60,105]. In the midwestern United States, small patches of ground-ivy may be controlled by carefully pulling or raking out the plants when the soil is damp, but great care needs to be taken to remove all roots because stems easily break [17]. In central New York, a grassland managed for control of invasive shrubs experienced little increase or a slight reduction in ground-ivy cover on 3 plots treated with various rotations of brushcutting over a 2-year period. Ground-ivy cover increased more on a control plot than on treated plots (see table below). In another nearby managed grassland, ground-ivy cover increased over a 2-year period from 0% to 12.5% in a plot that was mowed and mulched. Ground-ivy also increased on control plots but to a lesser degree than on the treated plot (from 1.1% to 2.3%) [90]. For more details on this study see Fire Management Considerations.

Percent cover of ground-ivy in plots treated with various rotations of brushcutting over 2-year period at Clark Ridge grassland in New York [90].
Treatment date Control Growing season cut
(once/2-yr period)
Growing season cut
(twice/2-yr period)
Dormant season cut
(once/2-yr period)
Prior to 2001 1.9 2.5 5.8 3.6
After 2003 5.3 3.7 8.6 3.2

Biological control: As of 2009, no information is available on this topic; however, herbivory on ground-ivy by invertebrates is common in this plant's native range [51], suggesting that there may be potential for a biological control.

Chemical control: As of this writing (2009), no information was available regarding chemical control of ground-ivy in wildlands. Ground-ivy may be difficult to control chemically in lawns and turfgrass [43,60] but a few publications recommend specific treatments [17,28,42,43,60,105]. Used independently, postemergent herbicide treatment may fail to control ground-ivy because it can quickly reestablish if any ramets or stolons survive [60].

Integrated management: Information pertaining to integrated management techniques for ground-ivy comes from 1 study in central New York where ground-ivy's occurrence was incidental to the study. In a managed grassland (i.e., 10 years of rotational mowing and prescribed fire to control invasive shrubs), ground-ivy increased over a 2-year period on 2 plots treated with a combination of mowing/cutting and low-intensity prescribed fire. Ground-ivy also increased on control plots but to a lesser degree than on treated plots [90]. For more details on this study see Fire Management Considerations and Physical or mechanical control.

  • 3. Bare, Janet E. 1979. Wildflowers and weeds of Kansas. Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 509 p. [3801]
  • 6. Birch, C. P. D.; Hutchings, M. J. 1994. Exploitation of patchily distributed soil resources by the clonal herb Glechoma hederacea. Journal of Ecology. 82(3): 653-664. [71794]
  • 7. Birch, Colin P. D.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1999. Clonal segmentation: the development of physiological independence within stolons of Glochoma hederacea L. (Lamiaceae). Plant Ecology. 141(1-2): 12-31. [71795]
  • 17. Czarapata, Elizabeth J. 2005. Invasive plants of the Upper Midwest: An illustrated guide to their identification and control. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 215 p. [71442]
  • 28. Gao, Gary Y.; Boggs, Joseph F.; Bennett, Pamela J.; Martin, Jane C.; Chatfield, James A.; Rose, Mary Ann; Rimelspach, Joseph W.; Zondag, Randall H.; Street, John R.; Pound, William E. 1999. Weed problems in Ohio turf, landscapes, and nurseries: 1998. In: Rose, Mary Ann; Chatfield, J. A., eds. Ornamental plants--annual reports and research reviews 1998. Ohio State University Extension Bulletin. Special Circular 165-99. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, Extension Research. 5 p. Available online: http://ohioline.osu.edu/sc165/index.html. [73213]
  • 35. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 42. Hatterman-Valenti, Harlene; Christians, Nick. 1992. Ground ivy control with borax. Ornamental and Turf Newsletter. 1(2): 5. [71804]
  • 45. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 46. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 60. Kohler, Eric A.; Throssell, Clark S.; Reicher, Zachary J. 2004. Cultural and chemical control of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea). HortScience. 39(5): 1148-1152. [71813]
  • 89. Rice, Elroy L. 1986. Allelopathic growth stimulation. In: Putnam, Alan R.; Tang, Chung-Shih, eds. The science of allelopathy. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc: 23-42. [71827]
  • 90. Richburg, Julie A. 2005. Timing treatments to the phenology of root carbohydrate reserves to control woody invasive plants. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation. 175 p. Dissertation. [60265]
  • 94. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 103. Slade, Andrew J.; Hutchings, Michael J. 1989. Within- and between-population variation in ramet behaviour in the gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma hederacea (Labiatae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 67(3): 633-639. [71829]
  • 118. Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan flora. Part III: Dicots (Pyrolaceae--Compositae). Bulletin 61: Cranbrook Institute of Science; University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan. 622 p. [30401]
  • 125. Widen, Marie. 1992. Sexual reproduction in a clonal, gynodioecious herb Glechoma hederacea (Lamiaceae). Oikos. 63(3): 430-438. [71843]
  • 12. Catling, Paul; Mitrow, Gisele. 2005. A prioritized list of the invasive alien plants of natural habitats in Canada. Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin. 38(4): 55-57. [71460]
  • 43. Hatterman-Valenti, Harlene; Owen, Micheal D. K.; Christians, Nick E. 1996. Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea L.) control in Kentucky bluegrass turfgrass with borax. Journal of Horticulture. 14: 101-104. [72783]
  • 57. Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2008. Invasive exotic plant list, [Online]. Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (Producer). Available: http://www.se-eppc.org/ky/list.htm [2009, January 5]. [72785]
  • 74. Mehrhoff, L. J.; Silander, J. A., Jr.; Leicht, S. A.; Mosher, E. S.; Tabak, N. M. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, [Online]. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Producer). Available: http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/ [2008, May 28]. [70356]
  • 75. Missouri Botanical Garden. 2002. Missouri exotic pest plants: A list of non-native plants that threaten Missouri's native biodiversity, [Online]. In: MO projects--North America. Missouri Botanical Garden (Producer). Available: http://www.mobot.org/mobot/research/mepp/alphalist.shtml [2009, April 6]. [73559]
  • 105. Spangenberg, Bruce. 2001. Lurking in the shadows. Grounds Maintenance. 36(1): [36-40]. [71837]
  • 112. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2009. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/. [34262]
  • 117. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. 2003. Invasive alien plant species of Virginia, [Online]. Virginia Native Plant Society (Producer). Available: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/documents/invlist.pdf [2009, March 23]. [44942]

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Prevention and Control

Once established, this plant is difficult to control because it is hard to remove all root and stolon fragments. Seed banks may also remain viable after control methods are used. Small patches can be pulled by hand or using a rake when the soil is damp. All roots must be removed. Large infestations can be effectively controlled using systemic herbicides like glyphosate. A rust fungus Puccinia glechomatis attacks ground ivy causing severe damage or death and may hold some potential for biological control.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

In its native range, many invertebrates utilize ground-ivy for forage; a comprehensive list of species is given by Hutchings and Price [51]. In Great Britain, bank voles utilize ground-ivy as a food source [121]. A study in Germany determined that ground-ivy was commonly used as a nesting material for European Starlings [37]. European wild boars eat the leaves of ground-ivy (Janda 1954, as cited in [9]), and in the United States, it is considered a potential food source for introduced boars in the Smokey Mountains [9].

Palatability/nutritional value: It appears that ground-ivy is palatable for the few animals identified above, but nothing has been reported on its importance as forage.

Ground-ivy is thought to be toxic to livestock [22,25,40,51], especially horses [17,76], and to some species of rodents [51].

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

  • 17. Czarapata, Elizabeth J. 2005. Invasive plants of the Upper Midwest: An illustrated guide to their identification and control. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 215 p. [71442]
  • 40. Haragan, Patricia Dalton. 1991. Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states: A field guide. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. 278 p. [72646]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 76. Mitich, L. W. 1994. The intriguing world of weeds. Ground ivy. Weed Technology. 8(2): 413-415. [71816]
  • 9. Bratton, Susan Power. 1974. The effect of the European wild boar (Sus scrofa) on the high-elevation vernal flora in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 101(4): 198-206. [72650]
  • 22. Durrell, L. W.; Jensen, Rue; Klinger, Bruno. 1952. Poisonous and injurious plants in Colorado. Bulletin 412A. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College. 88 p. In cooperation with: Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station; Colorado Agricultural Extension Service. [64735]
  • 25. Fisher, Cindy. 1995. Horse care: perilous pasture plants. Rural Heritage. 20(2): 44-45. [63891]
  • 37. Gwinner, Helgag. 1997. The function of green plants in nests of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Behaviour. 134(5/6): 337-351. [72649]
  • 121. Watts, C. H. S. 1968. The foods eaten by wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) in Wythan Woods, Berkshire. The Journal of Animal Ecology. 37(1): 25-41. [72651]

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Cultivation

The preference is partial sun, moist conditions, and fertile loamy soil in an open situation where there is little ground cover. This species can spread aggressively and is difficult to destroy without resorting to herbicides. During hot summer weather, it has a tendency to become dormant.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Other uses and values

In the past, ground-ivy was used for various medicinal purposes and in place of hops for brewing beer and ale [3,40,51,76,108]. Today, this plant may still be cultivated and used as an herbal remedy for various ailments.
  • 3. Bare, Janet E. 1979. Wildflowers and weeds of Kansas. Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 509 p. [3801]
  • 40. Haragan, Patricia Dalton. 1991. Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states: A field guide. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. 278 p. [72646]
  • 51. Hutchings, Michael J.; Price, Elizabeth A. C. 1999. Biological flora of the British Isles: No. 205. Glechoma hederacea L. (Nepeta glechoma Benth., N. hederacea (L.) Trev.). Journal of Ecology. 87(2): 347-364. [71808]
  • 76. Mitich, L. W. 1994. The intriguing world of weeds. Ground ivy. Weed Technology. 8(2): 413-415. [71816]
  • 108. Stubbendieck, James; Coffin, Mitchell J.; Landholt, L. M. 2003. Weeds of the Great Plains. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. 605 p. In cooperation with: University of Nebraska, Lincoln. [50776]

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Risks

Ecological Threat in the United States

Ground ivy is a vigorous grower that spreads across the ground forming dense patches that push out native plants. It is toxic to many vertebrates, including horses, if eaten in large quantities either fresh or in hay.

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Wikipedia

Glechoma hederacea

Flower's appearance in visible, UVA, and NIR spectrums. The UV nectar guides may help attract bees.

Glechoma hederacea (syn. Nepeta glechoma Benth., Nepeta hederacea (L.) Trevir.) is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family Lamiaceae. It is commonly known as ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground,[1] creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, and run-away-robin,.[1] It is also sometimes known as creeping jenny, but that name more commonly refers to Lysimachia nummularia. It has numerous medicinal uses, and is used as a salad green in many countries. European settlers carried it around the world, and it has become a well established introduced and naturalized plant in a wide variety of localities.

Description[edit]

Glechoma hederacea is native to Europe and southwestern Asia but has been introduced to North America and is now common in most regions other than the Rocky Mountains. It can be identified by its round to reniform (kidney or fan shaped), crenate (with round toothed edges) opposed leaves 2–3 cm diameter, on 3–6 cm long petioles attached to square stems which root at the nodes. It is a variable species, its size being influenced by environmental conditions, from 5 cm up to 50 cm tall.

Glechoma is sometimes confused with common mallow (Malva neglecta), which also has round, lobed leaves; but mallow leaves are attached to the stem at the back of a rounded leaf, where ground ivy has square stems and leaves which are attached in the center of the leaf, more prominent rounded lobes on their edges, attach to the stems in an opposite arrangement, and have a hairy upper surface. In addition, mallow and other creeping plants sometimes confused with ground ivy do not spread from nodes on stems. In addition, ground ivy emits a distinctive odor when damaged, being a member of the mint family.

The flowers of Glechoma are bilaterally symmetrical, funnel shaped, blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and grow in opposed clusters of 2 or 3 flowers in the leaf axils on the upper part of the stem or near the tip. It usually flowers in the spring.

Glechoma thrives in moist shaded areas, but also tolerates sun very well. It is a common plant in grasslands and wooded areas or wasteland. It also thrives in lawns and around buildings since it survives mowing. It spreads by stolons or by seed. Part of the reason for its wide spread is this rhizomatous method of reproduction. It will form dense mats which can take over areas of lawn, and thus can be considered potentially invasive or aggressive weed.[1]

Ecological aspects[edit]

A number of wild bees fly upon this plant, including Anthophora furcata, Anthidum manicatum, Anthophora plumipes, Anthophora quadrimaculata, Osmia aurulenta, Osmia caerulentes, and Osmia uncinata. The plant is also galled by several insects,[2] including Rondaniola bursaria (Lighthouse Gall),[3][dead link] Liposthenes glechomae[4] or Liposthenes latreillei (Kieffer, 1898) (a gall wasp).[5][dead link]

Cultivation and medicinal and culinary uses[edit]

Illustration Glechoma hederacea0.jpg

Some people consider Glechoma to be an attractive garden plant, and it is grown in pots and occasionally as a groundcover. Easily cultivated, it grows well in shaded places. A variegated variety is commercially available; in many areas this is the dominant form which has escaped cultivation and become established as an aggressive, adventitious groundcover.

This species is considered a non-native invasive plant in the United States, and has invaded wild areas, sometimes choking out native wildflowers. [6]

Glechoma has culinary and medicinal uses which were the cause of its being imported to America by early European settlers. The fresh herb can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to create an herbal tea which is rich in vitamin C. It has a distinctive, mildly peppery flavor; it can be cooked as a pot herb, although it is most commonly eaten as a fresh salad green.[7]

Glechoma was also widely used by the Saxons in brewing beer as flavoring, clarification, and preservative, before the introduction of hops for these purposes; thus the brewing-related names, alehoof, tunhoof, and gill-over-the-ground.

Glechoma has been used in the cheese-making process as a substitute for animal rennet.[8]

Glechoma hederacea seedling: cot = cotyledons; ga = auxiliary bud. From (Warming 1884)

Traditional medicine[edit]

Glechoma hederacea has been used in the traditional medicine of Europe going back thousands of years. Galen recommends the plant to treat inflammation of the eyes. John Gerard, an English herbalist, recommended the plant to treat tinnitus, as well as a "diuretic, astringent, tonic and gentle stimulant. Useful in kidney diseases and for indigestion." It has also been used as a "lung herb".[9] Other traditional uses include as an expectorant, astringent, and to treat bronchitis.[10] The essential oil of the plant has been used for centuries as a general tonic for colds and coughs, and to relieve congestion of the mucous membranes.[citation needed] In the traditional Austrian medicine the herb has been prescribed for internal application as salad or tea for the treatment of variety of different conditions including disorders associated with the liver and bile, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, kidneys and urinary tract, fever, and flu.[11]

Safety[edit]

Although it has been used as a salad green and in herbal medicines for thousands of years, the safety of Glechoma hederacea has not been established scientifically, and there is sufficient evidence to warrant caution with its use.[citation needed] Glechoma hederacea is toxic to cattle and horses.[12] Glechoma hederacea is known to contain terpenoids; terpene-rich volatile oils are known to irritate the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. The volatile oil also contains pulegone, a chemical also occurring in pennyroyal that is a known irritant, toxic to the liver, and also an abortifacient. The total yield of volatile oil in Glechoma is less than 1/30th the concentration that of pennyroyal.[10]

Control[edit]

As is often the case when a plant has this many familiar names, Glechoma is familiar to a large number of people as a weed, a property it shares with many others of the mint family. It can be a problem in heavy, rich soils with good fertility, high moisture, and low boron content. It thrives particularly well in shady areas where grass does not grow well, although it can also be a problem in full sun.

Small infestations can be controlled through hand weeding; repeated weeding is required because the plant is stoloniferous and will continue to spread from its roots or bits of stem which reroot.

Glechoma is unusually sensitive to boron, and can be killed by applying borax (sodium tetraborate) in solution. The ratio is eight to ten ounces (225 - 275gm) of borax dissolved in four ounces (125ml) of warm water, diluted to 2.5 U.S. gallons (10 ltrs) of final solution, to be sprayed evenly over precisely 1,000 square feet (100 m2) of lawn "no more, no less". Note that despite being a "natural" treatment, boron is toxic to other plants and to animals at only slightly higher concentrations and, being an element, does not break down; therefore the long term effects of this technique on soil or groundwater, although not well documented, can be assumed to be unfavorable.[13][14] More recent research discounts the efficacy of borax, primarily because finding the correct concentration for a given area is difficult and the potential for damaging desired plants.[15]

Aside from mechanical removal or borax treatment, the other alternative for Glechoma infestation is use of commercial herbicides. There is some disagreement over the effectiveness of various herbicides, with dicamba (Trimec and Weed-B-Gon) and 2,4-D being described variously as both effective and ineffective by different sources. Some or all of the disagreement may be due to the existence of subpopulations which have differing susceptibilities to different compounds, as well as to differing rates of application. To avoid generating herbicide resistance, the same product should not be used several years in succession; rather, various products should be used in rotation. Triclopyr has also been described as effective, and Clopyralid, MCPP, and quinclorac as ineffective. Fluroxypyr and Confront have also been described as effective, but sales of both are restricted to professionals. Two applications ten to fourteen days apart are necessary; also, the ability of the surviving plants to regenerate after 24 days can require a second treatment four or five weeks later, and even more followups.

In addition, the timing of application may play a role in the effectiveness of the herbicide, as well as the perception of effectiveness. For instance, fall is usually the best time for use of broadleaf herbicides; however a slow acting herbicide like triclopyr applied in the fall may not appear to have been effective until the next growing season.

Other techniques reported effective are to fertilize with greater than two pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet annually, and use of the preemergence herbicide, isoxaben. In extremely difficult cases, a short-lived full-spectrum herbicide such as glyphosate is used to kill the entire lawn, and it is reseeded from start.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Connecticut Invasive Plant List, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, January, 2004
  2. ^ "A Nature Observer′s Scrapbook" galls found on herbaceous, soft stemmed plants
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Leafminers of Europe - Liposthenes glechomae
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ U.S. Forestry Service
  7. ^ More tasty wild plants
  8. ^ Cheesemakingrecipe.com: Rennet for Cheese Making
  9. ^ A Healing Heritage, June 12, 2007, Joanna Poncavage, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
  10. ^ a b Joanne Barnes, Linda A. Anderson, J. David Phillipson, Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed., Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2002.
  11. ^ Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B. Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs. J Ethnopharmacol.2013 Jun13. doi:pii: S0378-8741(13)00410-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID 23770053. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23770053
  12. ^ "GROUND IVY: Glechoma hederacea". Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide. Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State University. 
  13. ^ Creeping Charlie Control - Borax University of Minnesota Info-U
  14. ^ Borax on Ground Ivy: Boon or Bane? Horticulture and Home Pest News, Iowa State University
  15. ^ [3] University of Wisconsin

Further reading[edit]

  • An HJ, Jeong HJ, Um JY, Kim HM, Hong SH. "Glechoma hederacea inhibits inflammatory mediator release in IFN-gamma and LPS-stimulated mouse peritoneal macrophages"; Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Vol. 106, No. 3, pg. 418-24, 2006
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Notes

Comments

Used medicinally for pneumonia and nephritis.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Synonyms

Glecoma hederacea L. [20,35,44,45]

Nepeta hederacea Trevis. [76]
  • 20. Dorn, Robert D. 1984. Vascular plants of Montana. Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing. 276 p. [819]
  • 35. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 44. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 45. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 76. Mitich, L. W. 1994. The intriguing world of weeds. Ground ivy. Weed Technology. 8(2): 413-415. [71816]

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The scientific name of ground-ivy is Glechoma hederacea L. (Lamiaceae) [31,49,55,97,107,118].
It is common to see the scientific genus name spelled Glecoma in some systematic and other
literature, especially in floras associated with the western United States [20,35,44,45]. The
generic name was not consistently spelled by Linnaeus, and the 2 spellings have been used concurrently [1,118].

One variety, Glechoma hederacea L. var. micrantha Moric., is recognized by a few
systmetists (e.g.[97,107]), but some consider it a synonym for G. hederacea L. [55,131].
  • 97. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2nd ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 20. Dorn, Robert D. 1984. Vascular plants of Montana. Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing. 276 p. [819]
  • 31. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 35. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 44. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 45. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 49. Hulten, Eric. 1968. Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1008 p. [13403]
  • 107. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 118. Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan flora. Part III: Dicots (Pyrolaceae--Compositae). Bulletin 61: Cranbrook Institute of Science; University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan. 622 p. [30401]
  • 131. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 1. Adolphi, K. 1982. Proposal to conserve Glechoma L. against Glecoma L. Taxon. 31(1): 118-118. [72669]
  • 55. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]

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Common Names

ground-ivy

cat's foot

creeping Charlie

creeping Jenny

gill-over-the-ground

ground ivy

groundivy

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