Glechoma hederacea - L.
Common Name Ground Ivy, Field Balm, Gill Over The Ground, Runaway Robin
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 3-10
Known Hazards A report in the medicinal uses says the plant should be used with caution, no reason is given. Another report says that the plant might be toxic to horses[222]. Avoid if pregnant as abortifacient. Contraindicated in epilepsy. Avoid if kidney disease [301].
Habitats Damp waste ground, hedgerows and woodland margins[7].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, northern and western Asia to Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Bloom Color: Lavender. Main Bloom Time: Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Prostrate, Spreading or horizontal.

Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy, Field Balm, Gill Over The Ground, Runaway Robin
Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy, Field Balm, Gill Over The Ground, Runaway Robin
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Glechoma hederacea is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Nepeta glechoma. N. hederacea. Calamintha hederacea. Chamaecissos hederaceus.

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Young leaves - raw or cooked[9]. The leaves have a bitter flavour[5], they can be mixed into salads to add a slight aromatic tang[7]. They can also be cooked like spinach, added to soups etc or used as a flavouring[2, 183]. Available very early in the year. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[2, 177, 183]. It is often used mixed with verbena leaves[7]. The herb 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[4, 183]. This species was the most common flavouring in beer prior to the use of hops from the 16th century onwards[238].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Antidiarrhoeal;  Antiphlogistic;  Antirheumatic;  Appetizer;  Astringent;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  
Febrifuge;  Miscellany;  Pectoral;  Stimulant;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Ground ivy is a safe and effective herb that is used to treat many problems involving the mucous membranes of the ear, nose, throat and digestive system[254]. A well-tolerated treatment it can be given to children to clear lingering catarrh and to treat chronic conditions such as glue ear and sinusitis[254]. Throat and chest problems, especially those due to excess catarrh, also benefit from this remedy[254]. The leaves and flowering stems are anodyne, antiphlogistic, appetizer, astringent, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, pectoral, gently stimulant, tonic and vermifuge[4, 9, 21, 100, 147, 165, 178]. They are best harvested in May whilst still fresh[4], and are dried for later use[238]. The leaves are used in the treatment of hypersensitivity in children and are useful in the treatment of kidney diseases and indigestion[4, 9, 21, 100, 147, 165, 178]. Applied externally, the expressed juice speeds the healing of bruises and black eyes[4]. Use with caution[21].


Other Uses

A good ground cover plant for shady places. It is rather vigorous though and can swamp smaller plants[197].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Container, Ground cover. Prefers a heavy soil and dappled shade[17, 31]. Prefers a moist well-drained soil, succeeding in sun or shade[188]. A very invasive plant, spreading freely at the roots[1, 31, 238]. A good bee plant[108]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in situ as soon as it is ripe, or in the spring. Division in spring or autumn[188]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Glechoma hederacea  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.