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Don’t Plant This: Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is a low-growing, creeping perennial plant that has long stems with pairs of round green leaves, and yellow flowers in summer. It is often touted as a good ground cover for wet areas, and its trailing foliage is used for decoration in hanging baskets and other planters.

Creeping Jenny 'Aurea" (Lysimachia nummularia)
Creeping Jenny ‘Aurea’ (Lysimachia nummularia)

But creeping Jenny is also one of more than 100 invasive species on the Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List, meaning it cannot be sold, imported, or propagated in our state. With so many species on that list, this is one that sometimes sneaks by unnoticed into nurseries. This post is a reminder that you should not buy or plant this invasive species.

Creeping Jenny loves moist habitats and was once commonly recommended for planting in these areas. Unfortunately, the same properties that make it a desirable ground cover for gardeners and landscapers turn it an effective invader in natural wetland ecosystems. It is known to escape from cultivation into forested floodplains and other wetlands, where it often forms dense mats. It is also a prolific producer of seeds. For these reasons, creeping Jenny has been prohibited from sale in Massachusetts since 2009, after a review by the Mass. Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG).

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) invading a natural area
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) invading a wetland habitat. Photo via bugwood.org

If you are a gardener or landscaper and see creeping Jenny for sale in Massachusetts, please do not buy it. This includes any cultivars like the yellow-leaved ‘Aurea’ and ‘Goldilocks’ that are sometimes sold. If you are a nursery owner and have been shipped this species from out of state, please contact the originating nursery to return the plants, or contact the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources for assistance.

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) in a hanging basket)
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) in a hanging basket)

Reports of creeping Jenny for sale can also be reported at our Plant Pest reporting web page.

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