Ground Ivy

Leaves and stem

This is a perennial plant that has creeping stems. These send out roots at regular intervals, and upright flowering stems. The leaves and stems are hairy, giving the plant are ‘soft / gentle’ feel.

The leaves are roughly rounded or kidney shaped, with a toothed margin. They are a dull, dark green colour. They may be up to 4 cm in width. Each leaf has a distinct (and often long) leaf stalk or petiole. The plant has a pungent smell - especially if the leaves are crushed.

Flowers and Fruits

Ground ivy side

The flowers are purple / blue / violet in colour and form in the axils of the leaves. The calyx (sepals) is toothed, and the corolla (petals) is in the form of a tube - with ‘lips’.

The lower lip has three lobes (see adjacent image). Four stamens are present, and white hairs are visible on the lower lip. Flowers are formed from March through to June (generally).

Ecology and other notes

Ground ivy is widespread through the U.K.,though less common in Scotland and Western Ireland. It is found in woodlands, hedgerows, grassland and even on bare soil. It is fairy tolerant of conditions - sun and shade, but is not found at higher altitudes. It belongs to the dead nettle family - the Lamiaceae.

ground ivy