Creeping Charlie Identification – Glechoma hederacea

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

One of the plants you might encounter on your walks, especially if you’re strolling through lawns, disturbed soils, or shady spots, is Creeping Charlie, popularly known as Ground Ivy or Gill-over-the-Ground. This plant has a distinct look and can be recognized quite easily with a few key features.

Creeping Charlie, with its scientific name Glechoma hederacea, belongs to the Lamiaceae family – which is commonly known as the Mint family. This evergreen creeper was introduced to other parts of the world from Europe. Creeping Charlie is a low-growing plant, typically reaching a height of 5 to 8 inches. However, don’t let its short stature fool you – this plant is known to spread quickly, forming dense mats across the ground.

Creeping Charlie: Key Parts in Photos

How to identify Creeping Charlie

The flowers are tubular, irregularly shaped, and can range from light blue to deep purple-blue. They tend to cluster in whorled patterns, with 2 to 4 short-stalked flowers sprouting from leaf axils in the upper parts of the plant. A distinct feature is the hairy calyx that forms a slender tube, tipped with 5 sharply pointed lobes.

The leaves of Creeping Charlie are round or kidney-shaped and often have scalloped edges. A unique aspect is the aromatic scent they give off when crushed. The leaves’ deep veins are sometimes tinged with purple. The upper surface of the leaf prominently displays palmate venation, which refers to veins that spread out from a single point, much like fingers from the palm of a hand.

Tthe stems are square-shaped, a typical feature of plants in the mint family. They’re primarily hairless, branching frequently, and can be either upright or creeping. These stems root at the nodes.

After the flowering phase, Creeping Charlie produces dark brown nutlets. These are housed in oval pods that replace each flower upon maturity.

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