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refers to any plant that grows over an area of ground, used to provide protection from erosion and drought, and to improve its aesthetic appearance (by concealing bare earth).
In an ecosystem, the ground cover is the layer of vegetation below the shrub layer. The most widespread groundcovers are grasses
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...
of various types.
In agriculture, groundcover refers to anything that lies on top of the soil and protects it from erosion and inhibits weeds. It can be anything from a low layer of grasses to a plastic material. The term groundcover can also specifically refer to landscaping fabric which is like a breathable tarp that allows water and gas exchange.
In gardening jargon, however, the term "groundcover" refers to plants that are used in place of turfgrass.
Plants for groundcover
Five general types of plants are commonly used as groundcovers:
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...
s, which are woody plant
A woody plant is a plant that uses wood as its structural tissue. These are typically perennial plants whose stems and larger roots are reinforced with wood produced adjacent to the vascular tissues. The main stem, larger branches, and roots of these plants are usually covered by a layer of...
s with slender, spreading stems
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...
plants, or non-woody plants
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...
s of low-growing, spreading species
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems...
of larger, coarser species
- Ornamental grass
Ornamental grasses are grasses grown as ornamental plants. They have become increasingly popular in gardens in recent years.-Classifications:...
es, especially low-growing varieties
Of these types, some of the most common groundcovers include:
Bacopa is a genus of 70 - 100 aquatic plants belonging to the family Plantaginaceae. It is commonly known as Waterhyssop .-Description:They are annual or perennial, decumbent or erect stemmed plants...
- Ivy (Hedera)
Gazania is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to Southern Africa. It is often planted as drought-tolerant ground cover.-Species:Species include:*Gazania caespitosa Bolus*Gazania ciliaris DC....
Aegopodium podagraria, commonly called ground elder, herb gerard, bishop's weed, goutweed, and snow-in-the-mountain, is a perennial plant in the carrot family that grows in shady places. The name "ground elder" comes from the superficial similarity of its leaves and flowers to those of elder ,...
- Ice plant
- Plant common names :* Aizoaceae, the ice plant family* Carpobrotus chilensis* Carpobrotus edulis* Conicosia, narrow-leafed ice plants* Delosperma cooperi, Cooper's ice plant* Delosperma bosseranum...
- Japanese honeysuckle
The Japanese Honeysuckle is a species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia including China , Japan, and Korea. It is a twining vine able to climb up to high or more in trees, with opposite, simple oval leaves long and broad...
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...
s of various low-growing types
Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. The genus includes both...
, creeping species
Lilyturf is a name used in the United States to refer to a group of low growing, grass-like perennials that are often used in landscaping for ground cover. The name may be applied to species of both the genus Liriope, and to the related genus Ophiopogon...
Liriope muscari is a species of low, herbaceous flowering plants from East Asia. Common names in English include big blue lilyturf, lilyturf, border grass, and monkey grass...
and Liriope spicata
Liriope spicata is a species of low, herbaceous flowering plants from East Asia. Common names include creeping lilyturf, lilyturf, and monkey grass. This perennial has grass-like evergreen foliage and is commonly used in landscaping in temperate climates as groundcover...
Mentha is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae . The species are not clearly distinct and estimates of the number of species varies from 13 to 18. Hybridization between some of the species occurs naturally...
Pachysandra is a genus of four or five species of evergreen groundcovers or subshrubs, belonging to the Boxwood Family, Buxaceae. The species are native to eastern Asia and southeast North America, some reaching a height of 20-45 cm, with only weakly woody stems...
Sagina is a genus of 20–30 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae. These are flowering herbs native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere extending south to tropical mountain areas at high altitudes, reaching just south of the equator in Africa...
Vinca is a genus of six species in the family Apocynaceae, native to Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia. The English name periwinkle is shared with the related genus Catharanthus .-Description:Vinca plants are subshrubs or herbaceous, and have slender trailing stems 1–2 m long...
- Shasta daisy
The Shasta daisy is a commonly grown herbaceous perennial plant with the classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow disc, similar to the Oxeye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. but larger...
Soleirolia soleirolii is a plant in the nettle family. It has a number of common names, including baby's tears, angel's tears, mind-your-own-business, peace-in-the-home, pollyanna vine, mother of thousands, and the Corsican curse...
- Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)