Ground ivy (Creeping Charlie)

Encyclopedia Article

Ground ivy (Creeping Charlie)                 Glechoma hederaceae L.

Family:   Lamiaceae (Mint family)             
Life cycle:  Perennial reproducing by seed and creeping stems.
Native status:  Introduced
Habitat:  Lawns

General description:   Creeping, prostrate, square stems that root at nodes.  Leaves are opposite, shiny, round with scalloped edges and long petioles.  Flowers form on flowering stems in April or May; flowering stems are more erect than vegetative stems.  Flowers occur in clusters of 2 or 3; petals are tubular, purplish or blue with two lips.  Leaves on flowering stems have short petioles.

Key ID traits:  Creeping habit, opposite round leaves with rounded teeth and long petioles.  Minty odor released when crushed or mowed.

Similar species:  Henbit and purple deadnettle may resemble ground ivy, especially the flowering stems of ground ivy, but the other species do not root at nodes.  Henbit leaves on flowering stems are sessile, whereas ground ivy leaves have short petioles.  Henbit typically flowers a few weeks earlier than ground ivy. Leaves of common mallow are similar to ground ivy, but the leaves of mallow are alternate and rough.

Miscellaneous:   Introduced to North America as a medicinal herb and salad green.  One of the more difficult weeds to manage in turf.

Ground ivy leaves are circular with scalloped leaf margin and long petioles.  Dense mats of ground ivy can completely eliminate turf.

Leaves are oppositlye arranged on aboveground stems that root at nodes.


Ground ivy flowers in the spring, producing erect stems with light blue/purple flowers.  The leaves on flowering stems have short petioles.