Here along our usually shady confines, Glechoma hederacea must compete with more aggressive plants like English ivy. 

So it flowers with the kind of charming modesty that inspires a name like  “hedgemaids.”

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But downstream of our usual vantage, Little Crum Creek opens onto a 20-acre lake created when the borough of Ridley Park was founded in the 1870s.

Surrounding the lake, an extensive lawn provides the little European species ample room to flourish.

And the plant’s aggressive spread might suggest its more common (though decidedly less florid) name of “ground ivy.”

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But stooping for a whiff of minty-scented leaves sent from creeping stems might also put us in mind of more colorful names like “creeping Charlie.” 

And from the French guiller, meaning “to ferment,” the plant’s herbal use  in flavoring beer is specifically reflected in “Gill-over-the-ground.”

Surely the plant’s useful beauty, weedy though it be, helps explain its spread by settlers across North America.

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[Images are sharper when clicked.]

100_4142edcropGlechoma hederacea.

How we see it is how we know it.

Don’t like it hanging around?   “Creeping Charlie.”

Rather impair it somehow? “Gill-over-the-ground” sounds fairly soused already.

Maybe want to impersonally efface it altogether.  “Ground ivy” is a good start.

Really, if noticed at all, the plant (or weed, as you like) is usually mowed before flowering … only a few kitten-paw leaves left apparent.  “Cat’s foot.”

But along Little Crum Creek, this faintly aromatic daughter of the mint family is growing a foot high in the untrammeled shade, suddenly surprising a passer-by with its long stand of blue and lavender lobed beauty in humbly numbered clusters.  “Hedgemaids.”