Usually I separate individual flowers for the spotlight series, but the three below have such similarly shaped flowers, are all part of the mint family, and can be found nearby blooming about the same time, I though it would be best to show them together so you can see the similarities and differences side by side.
Purple flowers you may find almost everywhere you go. What are they? How can you tell them apart? Why are they everywhere?
You will find the first two blooming soon in a field nearby.
Known by many other names- ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, alehoof, tun hoof, cats foot, field balm, and run-away-roin, is a regular in fields, yards, gardens, waste areas, really anywhere being a non-native invasive species to North America.
This plant grows low to the ground (rarely rising up past an inch or two unless it's creeping over another plant or rock). It can be differentiated from Henbit (not pictured, I have yet to find a specimen nearby) by the scalloped palmate leaves whereas Henbit has the same scalloping but the leaf goes the whole way around the stem (whorled).
Ground ivy was once used as a flavoring and clearing agent in beer brewing before it was replaced by hops in the 17th century (up til then hops was considered dangerous).
It has also been used to cure a wide variety of ailments...
...disorders of the bladder, kidneys, digestive tract, gout, coughs, colds, ringing in the ears, asthma, jaundice, headaches, and as an astringent and diuretic!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.