Posted on Tuesday 10/19
History and Background on Creeping Charlie
Glechoma hederacea (fancy name for Creeping Charlie) is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family. Its alias is ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground or Creeping Charlie. In many countries, it enjoys the pleasure of being used as a tasty salad green and, additionally, it has been reported to have numerous medicinal uses.
European settlers were responsible for its introduction to a wide area of localities. Although Creeping Charlie is a native to Europe and southwestern Asia, it has become common in most regions other than the Rocky Mountains. Known as Creeping Charlie, its aliases are Alehoof, Cats for, Field Balm, Run-away-robin, Ground Ivy, gill-over-the-ground, and Tunhoof. It can be identified by its round to reniform (kidney or fan shape of the leaf). It is a variable species, its size being influenced by environmental impacts.
The flowers of Creeping Charlie are bilaterally symmetrical, funnel-shaped, blue or bluish-violet to lavender, growing in opposite clusters of 2 - 3 flowers. It usually flowers in the spring.
How to Use Creeping Charlie in your Landscape Design
Glechoma 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. To aid in preventing its spread, bagging your lawn cuttings will help combat its spread by stolons or by seed.
Part of the reason for its widespread is this rhizomatous method of reproduction. It will form dense mats which can take over areas of lawn, and thus can be considered potentially invasive or aggressive weed.
Now that we have explored the evil side of one of Mother Nature's children let us see if there is any good. Remember, for every negative; there must be positive. This is the balance of life. CC is quite attractive and can be grown as a potted plant and on occasion as a ground cover. Easily cultivated, it grows well in the shaded area. While many of us consider it a weed because of its propensity for spreading,
Culinary and Medicinal Uses for Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie's has culinary and medicinal uses which were the reason it was brought by the earlier settlers to America. The fresh herb can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to create an herbal tea rich in vitamin C. Creeping Charlie was also widely used by the Saxons in brewing beer as flavoring, clarification, and preservative, before the introduction of hops for these purposes; thus the brewing-related names, Alehoof, Tunhoof, and Gill-over-the-ground.
Creeping Charles has been used in the traditional medicine of Europe going back thousands of years. Galen, an ancient Greek physician, 300AD, recommended the plant to treat inflammation of the eyes, John Gerard, an English herbalist, recommended the plant to treat tinnitus, as well as a diuretic, astringent, tonic and gentle stimulant. Creeping Charlie has been used in the traditional medicine of Europe going back thousands of years.
Although I am not a friend of the weeds that are growing and strangulating my garden, I do approach them with a more educated knowledge which, hopefully, will permit me to have a garden design in complete harmony with nature and one that will equally serve all.