Ajuga reptans

Grown in gardens as an attractive groundcover 

Ajuga reptans bugleherb

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously

This perennial plant is an alien species brought to America from Eurasia by early colonists. It now grows wild in eastern United States and Canada and in parts of the American Northwest.

Like most members of the mint family it has a stem that is square in cross section. It is a sprawling plant that tends to rapidly form large colonies and sending up taller vertical flowering stalks. The flowers are borne on a 4-6 inch, downy, leafy erect stem. The individual flowers are small with a short upper lip protecting the stamens and a pistil and a larger 3 lobed lower lip. Flowers usually have a natural color of powder blue or purple, with darker veins on the lower lip. The blooming period is  May to June.

The leaves are dark green with purple highlights. These leaves are both basal and found on the flowering stalk. They are oblong, oval or spoon-shaped. This species mostly reproduces asexually, primarily by runners. Although bees pollinate the flowers, many of its seeds are not fertile. It can be found in fields, disturbed areas and along roadsides in partial shade. It is drought-resistant. The plant is aromatic but bitter tasting. It had been used widely in herbal medicine, but is seldom used in modern times.

In gardens, it can be a useful ground cover or border plant in areas with well-drained soil. A number of cultivars can be purchased with flower colors that can be blue, purple, pink or white. It will readily grow in shady or sandy places in a lawn where grass does not grow well. The problem with using it in a garden is its tendency to spread rapidly into areas where it is not wanted. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid eating this plant. It readily naturalizes and may compete with some native plants in some places.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Grows in damp woods and fields.

See distribution map at Bonap Map.

Wetland code:  Not classified

Flowers May to June.

Ajuga reptans bugleherb

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously
Ajuga reptans gallery
Plant Life-Form
perennial forb
Common Names
bugleherb bugleweed