Part 2: Early Spring Plants in Backyard Habitats

Glechoma hederacea is known by many common names: Creeping charlie or ground ivy are the most used. It’s a non-native, invasive, allelopathic plant belonging to the Mint family.

When I first took notice of it my instinct was to acquire a flamethrower to burn it all, but I settled for hand weeding thinking that would be the end of it. I’m sure the plant had a good chuckle at my naïveté.

A few years ago I decided to see if anything fed on the little purple flowers as it is one of the first nectar sources in our yard. In March I typically begin observing the first butterflies and sphinx months flitting about. Experts say the plant offers a “lucky hit” strategy for providing nectar to bees and other pollinators.

While it’s definitely not a plant I’d recommend to add to a backyard habitat, if it does exist in your yard it does seem to have the limited benefit of being one of the earliest nectar sources available. The low height of the plant allows me to get very close to the FOY butterflies. I’ve spent many delightful hours watching them flit from flower to flower.

Hummingbird Clearwing moth
(Hemaris thysbe)

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