Plants that specifically
cover the ground like a carpet and are grown for their ornamental
value, often useful for low maintenance areas; can be used for
Groundcover is an horticultural term applied to
any low-growing spreading vegetation used to cover bare earth,
to create a uniform appearance, to provide weed control or to
protect soil from erosion or drought; Generally groundcover
refers to broadleaf plants rather than lawn grasses. Group of
groundcover plants are frequently used to provide a low-growing
carpet between other plants in place of turf in particular
planted in deep shade (as ivy) or on a steep slope where turf is
difficult to grow.
Ground cover vegetation
includes the entire suite of plants (as grasses, ferns and lowest
shrubs) that occupies the lowest of the four possible strata in a
plant community, that is the ground cover, the shrub layer, the
lower tree layer, and the upper tree layer.
The ground cover includes any vegetation (
ground flora) producing a protective mat on or just above the
soil surface and comprises herbaceous plants (grasses, forbs,
ferns and creepers) and the lowest shrubs other than saplings
occupying an area, as well as any associated accumulation of
dead organic matter under the trees.
Measures of ground cover condition may include the diversity of
plant forms, the diversity of species, the relative density of
different species, and the relative proportion of perennial to
annual species. Ground cover is the major habitat for many
fauna, some of which may provide an early indication of
declining ground cover condition.
Some vegetation communities such as grasslands and grassy open
woodlands are characterised by only one or two strata.
Some species of climbing
plants develop holdfast roots which help to support the vines on
trees, walls, and rocks. By forcing their way into minute pores and
crevices, they hold the plant firmly in place.
Climbing plants, like the poison ivy (Toxicodendron
radicans), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus
tricuspidata), and trumpet creeper (Campsis
radicans), develop holdfast roots which help to
support the vines on trees, walls, and rocks. By forcing their
way into minute pores and crevices, they hold the plant firmly
in place. Usually the Holdfast roots die at the end of the first
season, but in some species they are perennial. In the tropics
some of the large climbing plants have hold-fast roots by which
they attach themselves, and long, cord-like roots that extend
downward through the air and may lengthen and branch for several
years until they strike the soil and become absorbent roots.
Major references and further lectures:
1) E. N. Transeau “General Botany” Discovery Publishing House,