Hydrocotyle vulgaris
Common Name: pennywort 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araliaceae
Native Range: Northern Africa, Europe
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Purplish-green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil


Easily grown in humusy, consistently moist soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade. May be grown as a marginal aquatic plant in mud at the side of a pond or water garden or in up to 2” of standing water. Grow in containers in water gardens. Also best to use containers in boggy areas or around pools and ponds in order to maintain control and to avoid any unwanted invasive spread.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hydrocotyle vulgaris, commonly called pennywort, is a ground cover for moist to wet areas. Stems clad with round, peltate, short-stalked leaves (3/4” to 1.5” diameter) with scalloped edges float in very shallow water or creep along the ground, rooting at the nodes as they go. Purplish-green flowers are inconspicuous, appearing in 2-5 flowered umbels among the leaves from June through September. Grows 2-6” tall but spreads indefinitely. Many of the leaves are penny-size, hence the common name.

Genus name comes from the Greek words hydor meaning water and kotyle meaning a small cup.

Specific epithet means common.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Ground cover for pond or water garden margins. Bog gardens.