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Glechoma hederacea

Almost-round scalloped leaves of ground ivy.

Ground ivy patch in bloom, showing creeping growth habit.

Ground ivy flower is typical two-lipped mint flower; note square reddish stem.

  • 'Glechoma' was derived from 'glechon', which is Greek for mint or thyme.

  • 'Hederaceae' is Latin meaning 'ivy-like' and probably refers to either the leaf shape or creeping habit of the weed.

  • Ground ivy was used to flavor beer until it was replaced by hops. The common name 'alehoff' was derived from the old English word meaning 'ale ivy', and 'turnhoof' was derived from 'tun' meaning 'to tipple'. The common name 'gill' comes from the French 'guiller', which means 'to ferment'.

  • Ground ivy has long been used as a medicinal plant. The tea was an ancient all-purpose drink. Herbalists believed it had a cleansing effect on lungs, kidneys, stomach, and bowels. The sap of ground ivy, applied externally, is reported to be good for a black eye.