Ground Ivy by Any Other Name
I was hanging out down below the bluffs, waiting on a load of wood from Jason, our local draft-horse woodsman, to bring us a load of tree-trunks. I noticed, in the planted pines that remain from the ignored “tree farm” of the early 90s and a previous owner, that the understory was covered in a particularly upright version of a very common ground cover whose names include Ground Ivy (which I have always used), Gill Over The Ground, Catsfoot, Field Balm and Creeping Charlie–among others.
It is found across the US (except in the Rockies), though as I suspected but did not know until I checked it out, it is an invasive from Europe and SE Asia.
Wikipedia notes some uses of the plant:
While often thought of as a weed because of its propensity for spreading, Glechoma has culinary and medicinal uses which were the cause of its being imported to America by early European settlers. The fresh herb can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to create an herbal tea which is rich in vitamin C.
Glechoma 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.
The fact that this trailing mint roots at the nodes makes it an especially obnoxious weed along and under our garden fence, where I want it gone, but will NOT use herbicides. I’m thinking scalding salt water might work instead.
It was interesting that one of the first things Jason noted when he arrived with our wood was how pervasive garlic mustard had become down Goose Creek. He remarked:
“When I first came to Floyd County, there were no invasives, except a few Tree of Heaven. Now look at it!”