1292 Lysimachia nummulariaCommon Names: Creeping Jenny,moneywort,creeping Charlie,creeping Jennie Family: Primulaceae (primrose Family)
Creeping Jenny is a fast growing ground hugger that sprouts roots from its branching stems as it creeps along, ultimately creating a boundless evergreen carpet just 2-4 in (5-10 cm) tall. The leaves are nearly rounded, about an inch (2.5 cm) across, opposite, and smooth. This little Jenny shines in summer with bright yellow flowers that are cup shaped with five-petals, and about ¾ in (2 cm) across. The fragrant flowers are borne singly and upright in leaf axils (that is, where the petiole (=leaf stem) meets the main stem).
The selections ‘Aurea’ and ‘Goldilocks’ are noteworthy for their golden yellow leaves, which may actually outshine the flowers.
Lysimachia nummularia is native to Europe and temperate Asia where it grows in moist grasslands, along streams and in open woods. Creeping Jenny has escaped cultivation and become established throughout much of North America, save the Great Plains. It has become particularly common (and troublesome) in the northeastern US and Canada, where it can be found dominating damp situations along roads, wetlands and woodland edges. It even grows under water.
Light: Full sun or partial shade makes Jenny a happy girl. Creeping Jenny spreads rapidly in moist, partially shaded landscapes. In warmer climates, Jenny prefers more shade. Moisture: Creeping Jenny needs a relatively moisture retentive soil that is fairly well drained but doesn’t dry out. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 8 . Jenny withers a little in summer heat, but gets her mojo back when cooler weather returns. Propagation: Creeping Jenny will propagate herself if she is in a happy place. You can always separate parts off the runners to start new plants elsewhere.
Creeping Jenny makes a matlike groundcover for damp areas, especially around streams, ponds or wetlands. This is an easily grown edger for a moist border in part shade. Creeping Jenny would be a good ground cover for around the back yard pool. She tolerates shallow, rocky soils, and even some foot traffic, too. Cultivars with yellow leaves brighten up semi-shaded areas. If you have a rain garden, creeping Jenny would be a perfect groundcover.
Be warned: Jenny is a traveling girl! She might be too aggressive for many landscaping situations. It is better to be safe than sorry: Use creeping Jenny in sites where her spread can be controlled. Better yet, try one of the yellow-leaved cultivars in a hanging basket or window box and let it cascade over the sides. Creeping Jenny is used as an aquarium plant in freshwater tanks where it survives and grows underwater, although she quickly reaches the surface and spreads out from there.
The genus Lysimachia, known generally as loosestrifes, includes more than 150 species with representatives in North America, Europe, Asia and southern Africa. Some are used in traditional medicines. An herbal supplement that includes extracts from L. vulgaris (and possibly other species) is alleged to support kidney and urinary tract health, and is used to treat excessive bleeding and diarrhea.
Creeping Jenny is listed as an invasive weed in several states and its sale and cultivation are actually prohibited in Massachusetts. Creeping Jenny forms a mat-like carpet that can exclude native plant species.
Steve Christman 8/4/17