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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Creeping Charlie

Scientific Name: Glechoma hederacea L.,

Other Names: lierre terrestre, Ground-ivy, Gill-over-the-ground, gléchome lierre, lierre-terrestre panaché

Family: Mint Family (Labiatae)

General Description: Perennial, reproducing by seed and by creeping stems. Emits a mint-like odour when mowed.

Habitat: Ground-ivy occurs throughout Ontario but is much more common in the southern parts of the province, infesting gardens, roadsides, waste areas, pastures, open woods and occasionally edges of cultivated fields.


  • Cotyledons are oblong to spatula-shaped
  • Rarely occur due to the creeping stems and rhizomes


  • Prostrate
  • Rooting at every node which touches the ground
  • Produce short, erect, leafy branches 10- 30 cm (4- 12 in.) high and slightly hairy
  • Strong, disagreeable, almost rancid mint-like odour


  • Opposite (2 per node)
  • Long-stalked
  • Hairy
  • Green or somewhat purplish
  • Margins coarsely round-toothed to wavy-toothed
  • Strong, disagreeable, almost rancid mint-like odour


  • 1 to several (usually in pairs) in axils of upper leaves
  • Calyx short, tubular with 5 short, sharp, soft points
  • Corolla blue-violet to purplish, about 10- 23 mm (2/5- 7/8 in.) long and 6- 10 mm (¼- 2/5 in.) wide
  • 5 united petals, irregular, tubular, 2-lipped at the end, the upper lip with 2 shallow lobes and the lower lip with 3 larger lobes
  • Each flower producing 4 tiny nutlets ("seeds")
  • Flowers are sweet and they are sometimes used as a garnish when icing cakes
  • Flowers from late spring until autumn

Often Confused With
Common Mallow (Ground-ivy is distinguished by its square stems and leaves attached in the centre of the leaf, more prominent rounded lobes on their edges, opposed leaves and hairy upper surface compared to the mallow leaves that are attached to the stem at the back of a rounded leaf)

Creeping Charlie (ground ivy) Creeping Charlie seedling Creeping Charlie (ground ivy) Leaves  of Creeping Charlie (ground ivy)
Click to enlarge.