Glechoma from Shelley in SC

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This is an invasive ground cover in my yard and looks a lot like gotu kola (I think it can also be called pennywort). The leaves are about the size of a nickel/quarter. It likes moisture. It has a strong smell…..sends shoots out into the lawn. It started out one little plant that came with a daisy a friend gave me and now covers about a tenth of an acre!

My question is – could this be a form of the herb gotu kola which can be eaten and used for medicinal purposes? I want to correctly identify before eating it! : )

Hi Shelley,

actually this is the non-native plant Glechoma hederacea, with several common names including gill-over-the-ground and creeping charlie.  As far as I know it is harmless to eat and was used as a bitter addition to beer long before hops were used. It may have some medicinal properties – I haven’t looked into that.  Most often it is considered a very invasive weed in yards in moist shaded areas.  Gotu kola leaves generally have a more  triangular wider space between the leaf lobes and more in number and less prominent marginal teeth than your plant.  Glechoma is much more bitter than Centella asiatica.

I hope this helps.


Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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