Ground Ivy

March 16th, 2012

Latin:  Glechoma hederacea

Irish:  Athair lusa


This is a native perennial that has slightly hairy, trailing or creeping stems and produces whorls of small, violet-coloured, two-lip, flowers in the axils of the leaves.

It is frequent throughoutIrelandand is usually found in woods, hedges and grassy places.  It can come into flower as early as April and has been recorded flowering in early May in the Builder’s Paddock.


Variegated forms of Ground Ivy are sometimes grown by gardeners, especially as a trailing plant for use in hanging baskets.  It has also managed to colonise almost all of North America where it is known as ‘Creeping Charlie’.

In addition to being appreciated as an ornamental it also has both edible and medicinal uses.  A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.

It has been added to beer in much the same way as hops in order to clear it and also to improve its flavour and keeping qualities. In fact, this species was the most common flavouring in beer prior to the use of hops from the 16th century onwards.

In the past, it was recommended by herbalists as a cure for humming or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).


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