Sunday, May 1, 2011

Glechoma hederacea

This Spring I am noticing a lot of early flowers, rich in color and complexity while small in size. I found patches of Glechoma hederacea, Ground Ivy,  in the same general area as yesterday's Bittercress.

From Sylvan Spring:

"One of the prettiest, as it is one of the most plentiful, in lane and hedgebank, of our April flowers, is the Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea), whose procumbent stem, and habit of freely root ing at the stem joints, cause it to creep so extensively as oftentimes to cover considerable spaces of the banks on which it grows. Its pretty little, roundish, kidney-shaped leaves, with their symmetrically lobed margins, and its axillary whorls of light purplish flowers, must be familiar to very many persons who do not know the Ground Ivy by name—though this name can scarcely be called appropriate, as the plant has no relation whatever to the Ivy, which it only distantly resembles in the form of its leaves. But in its creeping habit, in its profuse growth, and in the glow—of purple, and red, and yellow, intermingled—which often overspreads its stems and leaves, there may be found sufficient likeness to the familiar evergreen trailer of the hedgebank to warrant its designation; for while speaking of the Ivy as an Evergreen, we do not forget that in autumn and winter, and often in summer when exposed to the sun, it assumes the richest hues of red, and yellow, and purple. It is on sunny hedgebanks that the hairy stems and leaves of Glechoma hederacea acquire their gayer tints; and in this habit it resembles the Ivy. There are ordinarily six, though sometimes only three, flowers in each axillary whorl; and each individual flower consists of a tubular, acutelycleft calyx—oftentimes suffused with a hue of reddish purple—and a light purple corolla, with a tube much longer than the calyx, and with its upper and expanded part lip-shaped, for this plant belongs to the labiate tribe—the upper lip two-cleft and the lower lip thrice-cleft—with spots of darker purple near the entrance to the cylindrical corolla tube."

Click image for a closeup.

Heath, Francis George, Sylvan Spring. London, 1880. 301-3. Web. Google Book Search. 1 May 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment