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What is a Carpet Bugle?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Carpet bugle, scientifically known as Ajuga reptans, is a species of groundcover plant that is a native flora of Europe. This perennial plant belongs to the genus Ajuga of the mint family Lamiaceae and goes by other common names, such as bugle, bugleweed, and carpetweed. The garden plant has dark green leaves with shades of purple highlights. This plant has rosette leaves with slightly undulated edges that measure about 3 inches (7.6 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Underground stolons are sent out by the original plant to spread and colonize new areas.

The carpet bugle thrives in fertile, loamy, and fairly acidic soil under slightly moist to mesic conditions. When the soil is soggy or poorly drained, the plant can develop crown rot, which spreads fast. This species may prefer moist soil, but it can also tolerate drought. In shaded areas or under partial sun, this plant can be suitable as lawn substitute or used to define flagstone paths. If grown under full sun exposure, the carpet bugle tends to produce smaller leaves but more flower spikes.

Aside from gardens or lawns, the most common habitats include nursery plots, edges of woodland, and edges of yards. In natural areas, the plant is considered potentially invasive. This groundcover plant can help prevent soil erosion because it has an extensive root system. It is also commonly used with landscaping techniques such as mass planting, firescaping, and woodland gardens.

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The carpet bugle is a ground creeping plant and has a reputation of being a curative herb. It is also called carpenter’s herb by some native peoples because of its use as an herbal treatment for the prevention of profuse bleeding. The whole herb is used medicinally. From May to early June, the leaves of this plant are in their best form, and this period is the most ideal time to gather the plants and have them dried. The carpet bugle may be effective as a remedy for hemorrhaging, but all parts of the plant are toxic when taken internally.

Its tubular flowers with two-lipped corolla are dark bluish purple in color and appear in whorls, which shoot a maximum height of 10 inches (25 cm) from its flowering stalk. Bumblebees and other species of bees with long tongues are responsible for the pollination of these flowers. The carpet bugle plant also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Rabbits and deer rarely bother the foliage of the plant, and it is not susceptible to any types of pests.

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