8 Creeping Charlie Lookalikes You Need to Know

8 Creeping Charlie Lookalikes You Need to Know

8 Creeping Charlie Lookalikes to Easily Recognize

Introduction

Creeping Charlie, also known as ground ivy, is a common weed that can quickly create an unsightly and invasive mess in your garden. It’s important to be able to spot this invasive plant and take action against it before it takes over your entire yard. However, there are several other plants that resemble creeping Charlie, making it sometimes difficult to determine if you’re dealing with the invasive weed or not. In this article, we will explore eight creeping Charlie lookalikes that you should be able to recognize, helping you to keep your garden free of this unwanted plant.

1. Henbit

Description:

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is a winter annual weed that closely resembles creeping Charlie. It has square stems and opposite leaves, just like Charlie. Henbit leaves are rounded with a deeper purple tint compared to the lighter green leaves of creeping Charlie.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Look for the distinctive purple flowers that bloom on Henbit. Creeping Charlie produces small, bluish-purple flowers, while Henbit has larger, reddish-purple flowers.
– Unlike creeping Charlie, Henbit does not have a strong, minty odor when crushed.

2. Ground Ivy

Description:

Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is another name for creeping Charlie and they are often used interchangeably. It has kidney-shaped leaves with scalloped edges and square stems.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Unlike the bluish-purple flowers of creeping Charlie, ground ivy produces small, funnel-shaped, bluish-violet flowers.
– Creeping Charlie has a pungent minty odor when crushed, while ground ivy has a milder scent.

3. Speedwell

Description:

Speedwell (Veronica spp.) is a perennial weed with leaves that resemble those of creeping Charlie. It has small, blue or violet flowers that bloom from spring to summer.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Speedwell leaves are more elongated and have toothed edges compared to the rounded leaves of creeping Charlie.
– Creeping Charlie has square stems, while speedwell stems are round.

4. Purple Deadnettle

Description:

Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) is a winter annual weed commonly mistaken for creeping Charlie. It has hairy, heart-shaped leaves and a square stem.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Look for the square stems and opposite leaves, which are characteristics shared by both creeping Charlie and purple deadnettle.
– Creeping Charlie has a strong minty smell when crushed, while purple deadnettle has a more subtle scent.
– Unlike creeping Charlie, purple deadnettle does not produce runners or root at the nodes.

5. Creeping Jenny

Description:

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is a low-growing perennial that resembles creeping Charlie. It has round bright green leaves that grow in pairs along the stem.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Creeping Jenny leaves are brighter green and more circular compared to the slightly scalloped leaves of creeping Charlie.
– Unlike creeping Charlie, Creeping Jenny produces bright yellow flowers.

6. Creeping Buttercup

Description:

Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) is a perennial weed with leaves that closely resemble those of creeping Charlie. It has bright yellow flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Creeping buttercup leaves have more distinct lobes compared to the rounded leaves of creeping Charlie.
– Look for the bright yellow flowers of creeping buttercup, which are absent in creeping Charlie.

7. Moneywort

Description:

Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) is a creeping perennial plant that can often be mistaken for creeping Charlie. It has round, glossy leaves and stems that root at the nodes.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Moneywort leaves are more rounded and have a waxy texture compared to the leaves of creeping Charlie.
– Creeping Charlie has square stems, while moneywort stems are round.

8. Lesser Celandine

Description:

Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is an invasive perennial weed that resembles creeping Charlie. It has glossy, heart-shaped leaves and yellow flowers that bloom in the early spring.

How to Tell the Difference:

– Lesser celandine leaves are more heart-shaped compared to the rounded leaves of creeping Charlie.
– Creeping Charlie has square stems, while lesser celandine stems are round.

Conclusion

Knowing how to identify the lookalikes of creeping Charlie can help you prevent its invasion in your garden. Familiarize yourself with the distinctive characteristics and features of these plants, such as leaf shape, flower color, stem type, and scent. By being able to differentiate between creeping Charlie and its doppelgangers, you can ensure that you take the right steps to control and eliminate the invasive weed effectively.

My 2 Cents

While it’s essential to identify and control creeping Charlie to maintain a healthy garden, it’s also important to remember that not all lookalikes are necessarily harmful. Some of the plants mentioned in this article, such as Creeping Jenny and Moneywort, can be desirable in certain landscaping scenarios. So, unless you are experiencing an invasion of creeping Charlie, it’s worth considering these plants as potential additions to your garden rather than automatically removing them. As always, knowledge is key when it comes to maintaining a beautiful and healthy outdoor space!