(Glecoma hederacea; Nepeta Glechoma of Gray) Mint family

Flowers - Light bluish purple, dotted with small specks of

reddish violet; growing singly or in clusters along stem, seated

in leaf axils; calyx hairy, with 5 sharp teeth; corolla tubular,

over 1/2 in. long, 2-lipped, the upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip

with 3 spreading lobes, middle one largest; 4 stamens in pairs

under upper lip; the anther sacs spreading; pistil with 2-lobed

style. Stem: Trailing, rooting at intervals, sometimes 18 in.

long, leafy, the branches ascending. Leaves: From 1/2 to 1 1/2

in. across; smooth, rounded, kidney-shaped, scallop-edged.

Preferred Habitat - Waste places, shady ground.

Flowering Season - March-May.

Distribution - Eastern half of Canada and the United States, from

Georgia and Kansas northward.

Besides the larger flowers, containing both stamens and pistils,

borne on this little immigrant, smaller female flowers,

containing a pistil only, occur just as they do in thyme, mint,

marjoram, and doubtless other members of the great family to

which all belong. Muller attempted to prove that these small

flowers, being the least showy, are the last to be visited by

insects, which, having previously dusted themselves with pollen

from the stamens of the larger flowers when they first open, are

in a condition to make cross-fertilization certain. So much for

the small flower's method of making insects serve its end; the

larger flowers have another way. At first they are male; that is,

the pistil is as yet undeveloped and the four stamens are mature,

ready to shed pollen on any insect alighting on the lip. Later,

when the stamens are past maturity, the pistil elongates itself

and is ready for the reception of pollen brought from younger

flowers. Many blossoms are male on the first day of opening, and

female later, to protect themselves against self-fertilization.

In Europe, where the aromatic leaves of this little creeper were

long ago used for fermenting and clarifying beer, it is known by

such names as ale-hoof and gill ale-gill, it is said, being

derived from the old French word, guiller, to ferment or make

merry. Having trailed across Europe, the persistent hardy plant

is now creeping its way over our continent, much to the disgust

of cattle, which show unmistakable dislike for a single leaf

caught up in a mouthful of herbage.

Very closely allied to the ground ivy is the CATMINT or CATNIP

(Nepela Cataria) ,whose pale-purple, or nearly white flowers,

dark-spotted, may be most easily named by crushing the coarsely

toothed leaves in one's hand. It is curious how cats will seek

out this hoary-hairy plant in the waste places where it grows and

become half-crazed with delight over its aromatic odor.

CARRIONFLOWER CHICKWEED BURNET ROSE SHEPHERD'S CLOCK facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail