A creeping catnip - this is ground-ivy or gill-over-the-ground, a common ground cover which, in this capacity, may be very useful or may be reviled as a destroyer of grass. However, ground-ivy almost always grows in the deep shade beneath trees where grass is seldom successful, and may be used effectively as a ground cover when other greenery fails to thrive.
Glecoma heterophylla Waldst. & Kit.
April - June Gardens, woods.
The leaves of ground-ivy are round and scalloped; they are sensitive to frost and vanish early in autumn. Very early next spring, however, the new leaves and stems come forth, and there are innumerable pairs of bright purple, tubular flowers in the axils of the glossy leaves. Ground-ivy often appears even before the flowers of those other early spring blossoms, the spring beauties and violets, and sometimes is the first flower to be found in bloom. When the flowers are produced in abundance, the effect of a bed of ground-ivy is that of a carpet of purple.
Ground-ivy is highly aromatic when bruised and contains a bitter, volatile oil which is poisonous to cattle who chance to eat either the green or dried leaves mixed in hay and fodder. The plant, however, is so aromatic that the majority of animals instinctively avoid it; and, in consequence, few are ever poisoned by eating it.