Creeping Charlie flowers. Photo Credit: Ansel Oommen, Bugwood.org
Creeping Charlie flower. Photo Credit: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Creeping Charlie infestation. Photo Credit: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Also known as: Ground ivy, field balm, gill-over-the-ground.
Creeping Charlie was intentionally brought to the United States for food and medicinal reasons. It forms dense carpet-like mats that displace other groundcover. It can take over urban gardens and lawns and is toxic to horses.
|Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:
|Up to 1 foot (30 centimeters)
|Dark green leaves are kidney-shaped and have scalloped edges. They grow opposite along the stem. When the leaves are crushed, they emit a musky, mint smell.
|Fruit & Flower Description:
|Small, lavender flowers bloom in clusters of two or three and are funnel shaped.
Each flower produces four seeds. Seeds fall near the parent plant and rarely travel to new locations.
|April to May
- Creeping Charlie is found in urban areas, especially lawns and sports fields. It also grows in riparian habitats and woodlands.
- It thrives in moist, shaded environments but can tolerate areas with full sunlight.
- Creeping Charlie spreads by stolonsStolons A horizontal stem that runs along the ground and takes root at certain points to form new plants. and plant fragments. It forms dense patches that outcompete desirable vegetation, such as lawn and turfgrass. It can be difficult to remove once established in an area.
- It is toxic to horses when eaten in large quantities.
What you can do about it:
- Once established, creeping Charlie can be hard to control because of the difficulty in removing all root and stolon fragments. It is important to control it before the infestation gets too large.
- Mowing and tilling is not recommended on large infestations due to its ability to regrow from pant fragments. These practices will only encourage its spread.
- Small patches or individual plants can be removed by hand. Make sure to remove all roots fragments.
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate) looks like creeping Charlie. The quickest way to tell these two plants apart is to crush a leaf and check the smell. If the leaf does smells like garlic, then the plant is garlic mustard; if it smells like mint, then it is creeping Charlie. Garlic mustard also has white flowers while creeping Charlie has lavender flowers.
Noxious Weed Listing:
|State of Oregon:
|State of Washington:
Download Creeping Charlie Best Management Practices factsheet