- Food forest
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Possibly the humblest of all herbs in its smallness, meekness and charm. Useful ground herb that loves moist shade.
PLANT TYPE Herb
PLANT HABIT Perennial
USES Culinary, Medicinal
Possibly the humblest of all herbs in its smallness, meekness and charm. Ground Ivy is an aromatic creeping perennial herb in the mint family. Grows beautiful small blue/violet flowers emerge between April and May.
Useful as a culinary herb. It has a strong flavour described as a cross between sage and rosemary and is particularly good with pork dishes. High in vitamin c. Has medicinal uses and makes a herb tea.
Well suited as a ground creeper/cover in damp shady corners of forest gardens and herb patches.
Also known as Gill-over-the-ground, Creeping Charlie, Field balm, Catsfoot, Alehoof, Tunhoof, Run-Away-Robin, and Our Lady’s Vine.
Other names include (!) Ale gill, Blue runner, Candlesticks, Cat’s paws, Creeping Jenny, Crow victuals, Crow’s guts, Devil’s candlestick, Field balsam, Gill, Gill-go-by-the-street, Gill-run-over, Hay maids, Hayfoot, Hayhoof, Hedge maids, Hen and chickens, Hove, Jill-on-the-ground, Purple chickweed, Robin-run-away, Robin-run-in-the-hedge, Turnhoof, Wandering Jenny, Wild snakeroot.
RECOMMENDED LOCATION Forest garden, Wildlife garden
Aspect Shade, Moist shade, Moist full sun
Hardiness Hardy in UK WInter
Management and care Spreads mainly via vegetative production, and is best propagated via cuttings. Once established, cut as much as you like or pull out by the roots - it will return. There is some evidence Ground Ivy has an alleopathic effect on other plants.
Before the arrival of hops, Ground Ivy was used extensively in brewing.
Has many diverse traditional uses as a medicinal herb, including a “Gill tea” - made from early Spring infusion to help relieve coughs and colds. Was used as such in England up until the 1930’s. (Reference: Hatfield’s Herbal, Penguin, 2007).