Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides

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Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides

Lawn pennywort
Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides drawing.jpg
Binomial: Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides
Type: Perennial
Conditions: sun to light shade, prefers moist, humus-rich soils
Seed Dispersal: tools, feet
Vegetative Spread: creeping stolons

The lawn pennywort (Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides), also called the lawn marshpennywort, is a creeping perennial plant often found as a weed of gardens, pathways and lawns, but occasionally planted for its attractive, glossy foliage.


This plant is a prostrate creeping herb 1 to 2 cm tall with an unlimited spread via the wiry, hollow, green stems that root freely at the nodes.

Leaves are alternate and/or in whorls at the nodes, compound, with 2 stipules, orbicular or nearly so. Palmate veination and lobes, lobes 7, quite variable, generally less than 1 cm wide. Glabrous and bright greeen.

Flowers are borne in simple or compound umbels held on a long peduncle above the foliage mat. Small, perianth 5-numerous, stamens 5. Green.


Native to Asia and Africa, but introduced elsewhere where it has escaped to become a serious weed that may become invasive in wet areas or along stream banks.


A pretty ground cover, may also be used in pots as a green base for larger plants.


Control of this plant can be difficult, as it can regrow from very small stolon fragments, and can grow across the crowns of larger plants.

  • Mowing: Ineffective
  • Cultivation: Ineffective, as the plant can regrow from very small root fragments
  • Mulching (for prevention): Effective only as a barrier to seed inoculation. The plant will germinate under mulches.
  • Pulling: In garden beds, loosen the soil, and try to lift the whole plant, shaking the soil off afterward (the stems are fairly strong). Take care not to leave any stem parts, as the plant can easily regrow from fragments.
  • Flame: Can kill the plant if burned deeply (the plant is not very drought tolerant)
  • Barriers: Can be effective, but the edges must be monitored closely
  • Disposal: Hot compost piles only


  • Britton, Nathaniel Lord; Addison Brown (1913). An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada, Volume 2 (second edition ed.). Dover Publications, inc.. pp. 650. 
  • Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timothy A. Block (2000). The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. Anna Anisko, illustrator. Morris Arboretum, University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 142. 
  • P. D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core (1977). Flora of West Virginia (Second ed.). Seneca Books, Grantsville, W. Virginia. pp. 684. 
  • Staff of the L. H. Bailey Hortorium (1976). Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press. pp. 580.