Common Names: Ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, run-away-robin, creeping jenny
Sub-category: Mint family
Round to reniform (kidney or fan shaped), crenate (with round toothed edges) opposed leaves 2 to 3 cm diameter, on 3 to 6 cm long petioles attached to square stems which root at the nodes. It is a variable species, its size being influenced by environmental conditions, from 5 cm up to 50 cm tall. Flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, funnel shaped, blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and grow in opposed clusters of 2 or 3 flowers in the leaf axils on the upper part of the stem or near the tip.
Thrives in moist shaded areas, but also tolerates sun very well. It is a common plant in grasslands and wooded areas or wasteland. It also thrives in lawns and around buildings since it survives mowing. It usually flowers in the spring.
Edible Notes: The fresh herb can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to create an herbal tea which is rich in vitamin C. It has a distinctive, mildly peppery flavor; it can be cooked as a pot herb, although it is most commonly eaten as a fresh salad green. It has also historically been used as a hop substitute in brewing beer and as a rennet substitute in making cheese.
Warnings: There is some caution in consuming it: Glechoma hederacea is toxic to cattle and horses. It is known to contain terpenoids; terpene-rich volatile oils are known to irritate the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. The volatile oil also contains pulegone, a chemical also occurring in pennyroyal, that is a known irritant, toxic to the liver, and also an abortifacient.