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SOLVED: received as gotu kola (carrot fam.) but seems to be mint fam

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

I received this from a friend as gotu kola (Centella asiatica), which is supposed to be in the carrot family (Apiaceae) and to have little inconspicuous yellow-white balls of florets.
However, the plant I received has a mild sage taste (I tasted it because gotu kola is edible, and have suffered no ill effects), square stems, and purple flowers (pictured), all of which seem to point to Lamiaceae (mint family). I was thinking it could be Ground-Ivy (Glechoma hederacea), but the leaves of what I have seem to be a different texture, and rougher, almost sandpapery, and less toothed. It is a creeping, spreading plant, very low-growing. The stems send down roots at the leaf axils as it spreads.
What do y'all think this is? :o) Thanks!

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I agree with your ID of something like ground ivy, and surely not a carrot relative.
The weed may have overgrown the intended plant and your giver innocently unaware , passed it along.

Beautiful, BC(Zone 9b)

This pic looks the same: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/245866/

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Centella asiatica may be a member of Apiaceae, but that is what the leaves look like. (go figure). I have seen some forms of the plant that have leaves similar to Nasturtium, nearly circular with the stem centrally attached. It has been long enough since I have grown it that I cannot remember if the stems were round or square. That said, the flowers do not look right.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'll be danged!
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/84867/

San Francisco, CA

It looks like the leaf texture and arrangement, and the flowers match Glechoma; "gotu cola" flowers and leaves are quite distinct, and I cannot recall them making long stems.
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/54458/

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

While the color is right, the morphology of the flowers in the initial photos do not appear (to me) to be the tubular, lipped flowers of Glechoma. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/38706/ Another photo of the flowers, perhaps from the side, might be helpful. Could be something we haven't considered yet.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

I'm pretty sure it's Glechoma hederacea... the growth habit tends to be more compact in cool weather. You don't want this weed in your yard as it becomes quite invasive and difficult to eradicate.

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the interest, everyone. This is fun, and maybe we'll find out what it is! :0)

Glechoma hederacea is listed on several sites as edible . . . has anyone tasted it? Does it taste mildly of sage, and is it quite rough-textured on the tongue?

Here are some side-view pictures of the flowers on my plant. I'll take more as the plant moves more into flowering.
The large dewy leaves right behind the plant in the middle picture are blackberry leaves. At the base of the "gotu kola" plant in that picture you can see dew on the hairs on a green-toned leaf of the "gotu kola".

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Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

The side view of the flowers pretty well clinches it as Glechoma hederacea. In the face-on photos at the beginning of this thread the flowers appeared to be fairly flat. I have made Glechoma hederacea tea before. It is suggestive of mint tea. No surprise, but it will never become popular I don't think. Since it is pretty well determined that the plant is Glechoma hederacea, best to remove it post haste. Don't leave any rootlets or runners and keep an eye on the location for more.

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

Hmm. I'm still not convinced that it's Glechoma hederacea. Am I being silly?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

The Glechoma 'should' develops runners across the ground, the Gotu kola I think will NOT, but stay a central rosette.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

From Wikipedia on Centella asiatica: "The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in color, connecting plants to each other." The recent side photos of the flowers fully eliminate Centella asiatica as a possibility and make Glechoma hederacea a near certainty. No reason to keep for further growth as it becomes a very difficult plant to permanently eliminate.

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

I am certain that it is not Gotu Kola, nor anything else in the Apiaceae. I think that's decided. And that it's most probably in the Lamiaceae.
But I'm not convinced that it's Glechoma hederacea. For one thing, it tastes like sage, and so far I've only heard that Glechoma tastes a little like mint. Plus it doesn't look like Glechoma to me. Hmmmm. Any more thoughts?

Beautiful, BC(Zone 9b)

I'd give it a bit of time as it's still in "winter mode". Spring isn't far away so give it 2 weeks and it'll probably start the growth needed for id confirmation.

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks growin, that sounds like good advice. And thanks to everyone for your input. :-) Happy spring!

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Spoonlegs - Hope you read today's article. http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1724/

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

I'm going to mark this as "solved" for now. If anyone does have another idea of what it could be besides Glechoma hederacea, please feel free to post it here. I may post more pictures if its appearance changes significantly.

It could well be just its late winter / early spring look that's making it look less green and frilly, or it could be a less-common genetic variant of the same species.

In the Glechoma hederacea article that greenthumb99 posted a link to (thanks!), the photo on the right does look more like the plant I have, but still has more frilliness to the green leaves than mine. Also, the article and several other sources state that the plant tastes bitter, and mine does not. Hmmm.

In the meantime, I will vigilantly curtail its spreading! It's probably a good idea, whatever it is! Thanks, everyone. : )

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Spoonlegs - just a note of caution, taste is ...well, a matter of taste...as they say. Individual differences in perception, enjoyment and description vary widely. Its very subjective to be relied on too heavily as a diagnostic characteristic.

Cottage Grove, OR(Zone 8a)

Yes, and some of the leaves are getting green and frilly, on a sprig I have in a vase in the house. :0)

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