It’s called Runaway-robin, Catsfoot,Tunhoof,Alehoof,Creeping Charlie,Gill over the ground,Haymaid – these are all common names for Glechoma hederacea-Ground Ivy.
Even though the name Ground IVY gives the impression it is part of the Ivy family it isn’t. It is part of the mint family , it looks more like a Dead Nettle. This family is called the LAMIACEAE ,an easy feature to identify this family of plants is their square stem.
Ground Ivy has kidney shaped leaves with a pretty scalloped edge. The leaves are often a reddish /purple at the top of stems. The plant is covered in short hairs which can be seen clearly in the photo above.
These small creeping plants are easily overlooked but they form colourful carpets across woodland edges and verges and are not fussy,flowering and brightening up waste ground areas.
Some interesting facts about this common plant:-
- It smells of black currants or some say Tom cats …..CATSFOOT
- The leaves were once used as a bitter flavour in beer until hops were used……ALEHOOF