We bought a house in the winter and once the snow cleared and things started growing, we noticed this low laying plant covering large sections of our lawn. It is mostly in the very shady areas and completely takes over those areas.

It is nice to look at, and where it is there is so much shade I would need to plant a shade grass. I don't mind it, as long as it stays in place and doesn't try to take over the rest of the yard.

EDIT I live in Minnesota so I get lots of ice and snow (most winters).

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    I don't know what it is, but I'm glad you like it... I've got some of that stuff in my garden and it's impossible to get rid of. – bstpierre May 8 '12 at 15:10

I hate to break the news, but this is Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea, an invasive lawn weed in moist and shady areas. It normally stays low (2-4"), but can get up to 10" under ideal conditions. It grows as a mass of creeping stolons over the ground like a carpet, rooting at the leaf nodes to form a dense mat. It will generally stay out of a thick, vigorous lawn, but is a constant trouble in areas where people try to grow grass in the shade.

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    Well I liked the idea of the mint better, but after reading about this plant online, I am fairly confident you have pointed me to the right plant. I don't mind it in the shady corners of my yard, but I think I will have to get out there and pull it from the few sunny areas it has spread. – zk. May 10 '12 at 14:30

Edit: changed my mind based additional information

Scutellaria alpina or S. pontica (??) The skullcap family are members of the Mint family and vary widely in height and leaf shape. Pontica is hardy to USDA zone 6 which is not in Minnesota but other species are hardy to that temperature.

  • While the flowers on the Mona look very similar, the leaves on Mona ar more pointed, shinier, and have a purple underside. Also, it looks like this is a warm weather plant and I live in a northern mid-US state (didn't have that in the post at first). We get a good amount of snow and ice here. – zk. May 8 '12 at 16:01
  • also, the plants in my yard are very low to the ground. Only 2-3 inches tall and seem to spread out rather than grow up. – zk. May 8 '12 at 16:02

I don't know what it is, but I have it here in Southernish Ontario. It's not too invasive, it stays low, it won't win a fight with grass but it will fill up a flowerbed if you let it. It stays really low and I quite like it among petunias etc so I let it stay.

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