Ground-ivy

©Philip Precey

Ground-ivy

Scientific name: Glechoma hederacea
Despite its name, Ground-ivy is actually a member of the dead-nettle family. It is a clump-forming, aromatic plant that likes woodlands, hedgerows and damp places.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Despite its name, Ground-ivy is actually a member of the dead-nettle family and is not closely related to Ivy. It is an evergreen, creeping plant of woodlands, hedgerows and damp ground. It often forms clumps, spreading by means of overground runners that frequently root. It has a strong smell and violet flowers that appear from March until June.

How to identify

Ground-ivy has kidney-shaped, bright green leaves, with toothed margins, that stick out from the stem on longish stalks. Its violet flowers appear in whorls of two to four and are funnel-shaped. It smells strongly of blackcurrant or even tom-cats.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The fragrant leaves of Ground-ivy once made it a popular bittering agent for beer until Hops eventually replaced it.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.