May 04 2013

Purple Deadnettle

Published by at 7:30 am under Plants

Purple Dead Nettle (photo by Charlie Hickey)

This flower has a scary sounding name but is quite beautiful up close.

Native to Europe and Asia, purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) is often found in North American gardens where it escapes to the wild.

"Deadnettle" sounds daunting but is a happy name that means "similar to nettle but doesn't sting."

Two features make purple deadnettle easy to identify.  Its leaves are green at the base of the plant and purplish on top, and it has a uniquely shaped hood-and-lip flower that's a favorite with bees because it blooms in early spring when other flowers aren't available.

The lip provides a perfect landing pad.

Charlie Hickey's close-up shows us what the bee sees.

(photo by Charlie Hickey)

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