Both Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) and native Violet (Viola hederacea) have very similar leaves and growth habits.
Fine if the native Violet is flowering, there is no doubt.
The most obvious difference to me is that Gotu Kola in general prefers the sun where native Violet rarely grows in the sun.
A secondary difference is the Gotu Kola leaves have a different serration to the native Violet leaves. And Gotu Kola is generally a more tough leaf where the Violet's leaves are very soft.
Not exactly scientific but the best I can do. Some pix may (or may not!) make any more clarity.
Native violet LEFT; Gotu Kola RIGHT.
Gotu Kola growing in the sun.
I also have a ground cover which looks a lot like GK but I keep forgetting the name.
Bring a sample Lissa, I might get lucky and find and id. Could it be Dichondra repens? Reputed to grow well in the shade, has a kidney-shaped leaf and tiny greenish flowers. Supposedly an Australian native.
Dichondra that's the one. No flowers on mine that I have ever seen. Looks just like Gotu Kola but I bought it years back and planted it under the clothes line so I know it's not.
As I recall (and I grew it in the mistaken belief it grew in the shade), the leaf was kidney-shaped without any serrations.
Follow the link above on the word "Dichondra" Elaine. Looks just like Gotu Kola without the serrations. Easy to miss for the untrained eye.
Just occurred to me that they might?? be edible otherwise you could do yourself some damage eating the wrong plant.
Wow! Will have to check mine. Red flowers - whoda thunk? The Dichondra's flowers are I think, little and green.
I've never looked at either closely enough to verify. Will try to remember to do.
This one was purchased from either Nova Gardens or Bunnings in August 2014. It first went into the Aquaponics growbed, and some of it was transferred to the first wicking bed late last year.
It is identified/listed as Centella asiatica and sold as Arthritis Herb / Pennywort.
I see what you mean, Lissa. I've not seen the plant for many years, senior moment ;-) By the looks, it is not native to Australia. At the time it became popular, probably in the 80s, it was available as seed in small tubs. Have not seen it since then as seed. Edible - probably. Closely related to Sweet Potato so a good chance it's worth a whirl. Just chew up one leaf and see what happens. I doubt it would have been so widely available had it been toxic.
Having spent the last month getting over severe abdominal pain, tiredness and trots not to mention loss of pay for days off, I'll give that one a miss on this occasion.
I'm willing to give it a whirl if you'd like to bring along some leaves.