Dead Nettle

Dead Nettle, Lamium Purpureum
Also known as Red Dead Nettle or Henbit**, they love to grow in sunny or partly shady spots, especially rich, fertile soil. You'll often find them on roadsides, in lawns & home gardens, especially in disturbed soil.
**Note that 'Henbit' is actually a different variety than common Purple Dead Nettle, 'Henbit' refers to Lamium Amplexicaule, however, they look very simliar, and luckily they are both edible and share many nutritional & medicinal properties.
You can eat the flowers & leaves raw in salads. They have a fresh, grassy, earthy flavor, some people adore them. You can also infuse the flowers into butter or use as garnishes, or cook them up in your favorite soup, stew, fritatta etc. I use this plant sparingly as it's not my favorite, but it's great at this time of year when not much else is pumping, to add it into cooked greens or add variety to salads.
Dead Nettles are easiest to identify when their tell tale flowers come out mid spring. As part of the Lamiaceae family (which includes mint, lemon balm, motherwort, sage, rosemary, lavender etc), there are some common ID points. This family has square stems (which is kinda cool! Try chopping the stem in half to see this clearly), they also have opposite leaves growing up the stalk, 4 stamens & 5 petals on the flowers.
Purple Dead nettle have small hairy, wrinkly leaves, which tinge purple closer to the flowers, which are purple/pink/mauve color.
This plant is believed to be highly nutritious, abundant in vitamins, especially high in Vitamin C, Iron & fibre.
Medicinally the plant has been used to boost the immune system and is said to have anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, antifungal, diuretic & astringent properties.  The leaves can be used in first aid to stop bleeding.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published