What is this ground cover? Is it invasive? Should I let it do its thing?

Asked June 23, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT

I've been pulling this out of our lawn, but then I thought I recognized it from conservation areas I've visited. Could you tell me what it is, whether it's an invasive and if I might as well give the already patchy areas our lawn to it?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

The plant in picture is commonly known as Self-heal, Heal-all and its scientific name is Prunella vulgaris
There are two sub types of this plant:

  • Prunella vulgaris (subspecies lanceolata): Native type with narrow leaves and upright growth and
  • Prunella vulgaris (ssp vulgaris): Non-native, introduced from Eurasia with wider leaves and plants grow closer to the ground. The one in your lawn resembles the non-native type description.
Your observation is right about this ground cover being used in conservation areas. However, its not suitable for formal gardens mainly because it becomes weedy and invasive and can easily outcompete other desirable plants in your garden. The plant belongs to mint family and can spread aggressively like mint though stolons. So allowing it to spread and cover patchy areas of the lawn might not be a good idea because it will eventually take over the healthy grass areas too. Overall, it will be challenging to keep this plant contained in specific areas of your garden/lawn.

I hope this information is helpful.

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