Also Known As
Henbit deadnettle is an herbaceous member of the mint family. It has a square stem, lower stemmed leaves that do not have flowers and upper leaves without stems that are located just below the pink to purple two-lipped flowers.
Henbit deadnettle is an herbaceous member of the mint family. It has a square stem, lower stemmed leaves that do not have flowers and upper leaves without stems that are located just below the pink to purple two-lipped flowers. The square stem (like all plants in the mint family) is an excellent way to differentiate henbit deadnettle from Persian speedwell when neither plant is in flower (speedwell also tends to be much smaller and is in moist habitats). The red dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) has smaller flowers (not extending above the leaves) and reddish upper leaves. Henbit deadnettle is sometimes confused with Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea), another weedy member of the mint family that has flowers that are more blue-purple.
Did You Know?
"Dead nettle" refers to these plants looking similar to nettles but not having any sting hairs. Deadnettles are native to Europe. Despite its weedy and invasive nature, henbit deadnettle provides valuable erosion control in many cropland fields especially in the southern U.S. Henbit deadnettle is a member of the mint family, however, it does not have a strong or distinctive odor common among most members of the mint family.
The plant has two types of leaves. The lower leaves have stems (petioles) and are not associated with the flowers. The upper leaves are sessile (no stems) and located just below the flower clusters. Both leaf types are similar in shape being somewhat heart shaped, toothed, and opposite.
The flowers are small, usually pink to purple, have two lips, and extend beyond the surrounding leaves. To the novice, flowers appear to resemble a very small orchid. Viewed under a hand lens, the flower bracts (the floral leaves that protect developing flowers) are very hairy. The stems are square.
Henbit deadnettle is found in every state except for Alaska. It is very common in disturbed areas including yards, parks, croplands, fields, and roadsides. It is an introduced species and is considered to be invasive in many parts of the country. If not controlled, it can replace desirable native vegetation.In dry grassland areas, it is more common in moist, shaded habitats. It is treated as a weed throughout the U.S.