Dichondra carolinensis, commonly known as Carolina Pony’s-foot or Carolina Dichondra, is a low-growing perennial plant native to southeastern United States. It belongs to the family Convolvulaceae, which includes plants like morning glories and bindweeds. It is valued for its ornamental qualities and is often used as a ground cover in landscapes, lawns, and gardens. It has a prostrate growth habit, with stems that creep along the ground and form a dense mat-like cover. The leaves of Dichondra carolinensis are round or kidney-shaped, giving it a distinctive appearance. Although it is valued as a ground cover, it is often regarded as a weed of lawns and turfgrass, and its ability to spread vegetatively and by gravity-dispersed seeds make it likely that it will escape beyond cultivated sites. However, outside of cultivated settings, it is unlikely to become a serious weed of agriculture or the natural environment.
High Risk Traits:
- Grows and can spread in regions with tropical climates
- Naturalized elsewhere, but not documented as naturalized in the Hawaiian Islands to date.
- A common weed in lawns and turfgrass (although also valued as a groundcover in lawns)
- Other Dichondra species are invasive weeds
- Tolerates many soil types.
- Reproduces by seeds and vegetatively by rooting at stem nodes.
- Reaches maturity in 1-2 growing seasons
- Seeds by gravity, along heavily trafficked areas (e.g., roadsides), by water (common near aquatic habitats), as a soil contaminant, and through intentional cultivation
- Tolerates mowing (may make mechanical control ineffective)
Low Risk Traits:
- Despite categorization as a lawn weed, this plant is often valued for its ground cover in lawns and is not documented to be detrimental to lawns or other low growing vegetation.
- Unarmed (no spines, thorns, or burrs)
- Palatable to deer.
- Seeds reported to lack dormancy.
- Herbicides may provide effective control.