Glechoma hederacea

Nepeta hederaceae, Nepeta glechoma, ground Ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping Charlie, cats-foot, ale hoof, gillale, field balm, run-away-robin, tunhoof

Description: evergreen perennial

Place of origin: Eurasia

Urban habitat: Commonly found in minimally maintained lawns, neglected commercial and municipal landscapes, at edges of streams, ponds, wetlands, in waste areas and in highway drainage areas

Ecological function: disturbance-adapted colonizer of bare ground, erosion control, food and habitat for wildlife

History: Glechoma hederacea arrived in North America shortly after European settlements were established and was first documented as a cultivated plant there in 1672. The plant has numerous medicinal uses in Europe dating back to the first century to treat bruises, colds, coughs, fevers, headaches, inflammations of the eyes, tinnitus, jaundice, bronchitis, asthma, kidney diseases and mental illness. In North America, Glechoma hederacea was also used medicinally by the Cherokee tribe. The plant was commonly consumed as food, added to salads, soups, jams, oatmeal, vegetable dishes and prepared as a tea. It was used in the fermentation of beer and ale prior to hops. The plant is found widely throughout North America and is commonly considered to be an invasive species.