ground cover

noun
1.
the herbaceous plants and low shrubs in a forest, considered as a whole.
2.
any of a variety of low-growing or trailing plants used to cover the ground in areas where grass is difficult to grow, as in dense shade or on steep slopes.
Also, groundcover.


Origin:
1895–1900

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ground cover
 
n
a.  dense low herbaceous plants and shrubs that grow over the surface of the ground, esp, in a forest, preventing soil erosion or, in a garden, stifling weeds
 b.  (as modifier): ground-cover plants

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
If you're camping in a tent, remember to bring a sleeping bag, ground cover and
  flashlight.
With the protective ground cover gone, small creatures from frogs to songbirds
  disappear.
It is surrounded by ground cover and slopes slightly so water drains off.
Shrub and ground cover roses need only shaping or light shearing.
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