Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ground Ivy

Another flower today. Although named ground ivy, I found this Glechoma hederacea growing on top of a fallen tree trunk down on the Railway Land. It's a member of the Lamiaceae family - the mints and deadnettles - and in keeping with this has zygomorphic flowers. It's apparently very sensitive to boron, so if you see it growing you can deduce a low level of boron in the soil and impress your friends!
Native to Europe and south-west Asia but has been spread around most of the world. It is poisonous to cattle and horses but we humans have used it in salads and in brewing before the use of hops. This explains its other common names: alehoof and tunhoof. Medicinally it has been used, like so many herbs, for virtually everything. In particular it was recommended for colds and coughs and other respiratory disorders. 
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