P&PDL Picture of the Week for
April 9, 2007

Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie) is going vertical and flowering

Glenn Hardebeck, Turfgrass Research Agronomist, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University

Ground Ivy is often misidentified during the spring due to its change in growth habit.  Most often ground ivy is thought of as a low-growing weed that spreads by stolons (stems that creep out across the surface of the ground).  But, ground ivy is now in its flowering stage with a very vertical or upright growth habit.  During this stage it is often confused with other broadleaf weeds such as henbit and purple deadnettle.  Discerning ground ivy from the others is important because henbit and purple deadnettle are winter annuals while ground ivy is a perennial.  Winter annuals die back with the onset of summer temps while perennials continue on from season to season.

There are several characteristics that can be used to differentiate ground ivy from henbit and purple deadnettle, but the most obvious is the presence of a stolon (stem) growing across the soil surface which indicates ground ivy.  Ground ivy can be a tenacious weed to combat due to its ability to rapidly spread throughout an area thanks to its stolons.  More on the control of ground ivy can be found in an past pic of the week at http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/weeklypics/5-24-04.html.

Click image to enlarge

Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie) is now in its flowering stage and exhibiting a very vertical growth habit

An unchanging characteristic of ground ivy is its spreading growth habit using stolons.

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service