Purple deadnettle

Purple deadnettleThank you for bringing in a sample which made it much easier to identify. The weed is purple deadnettle, Lamium purpureum. This winter annual is found throughout most of the United States and into Canada. The flowers and leaves are in a whorled pattern around the stem. Whorled means three or more leaves or flowers are attached at the same site around the stem. Most of the lightly purple flowers are clustered at the top of the stem with the lower third of the stem completely absent of foliage.

Purple deadnettle will tolerate most any light condition but does prefer moist, fertile soil. This plant is native to Eurasia. The nectar from the flower does provide food for native pollinators such as bumblebees. It is often mistaken for henbit, but henbit has a more sprawling growth habit. The leaves of henbit are sessile leaves which means they are directly attached to the stem whereas purple dead nettle has short petioles or leaf stems.

The name nettle often means prickly or stinging, but the purple deadnettle does not have the sharp structures to hurt or sting us. This is where it gets its name “deadnettle.”

At this point, the weed is mature and producing flowers and seeds. The best management tool would be to hand pull purple deadnettle since it can only reproduce by seed. It would be best to do it sooner than later in the hopes of removing it before it drops its seeds.

Remember, we have a plant clinic the first and third Mondays of the month unless it is a holiday.  The Yulee satellite office is open for plant and insect identification and diagnosis from 10am to 2pm.