Lamium - Deadnettle
Lamium (deadnettle) is a genus of about 40-50 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae, of which family it is the type genus. They are all herbaceous plants native to Europe, Asia, and north Africa, but several have become very successful weeds of crop fields and are now widely naturalised across the temperate world.
The genus includes both annual and perennial species; they spread by both seeds and stems rooting as they grow along the ground.
The common name refers to their superficial resemblance to the unrelated stinging nettles, but unlike those, they do not have stinging hairs and so are harmless or apparently "dead".
Lamiums are frost hardy and grow well in most soils. Flower colour determines planting season and light requirement: white- and purple-coloured flowered species are planted in spring and prefer full sun. The yellow-flowered ones are planted in fall (autumn) and prefer shade. They often have invasive habits and need plenty of room. Propagate from seed or by division in early spring.
Lamium album (White Deadnettle) is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native throughout Europe and western Asia, growing in a variety of habitats from open grassland to woodland, generally on moist, fertile soils.
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50-100 cm tall, with green, four-angled stems. The leaves are 3-8 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, triangular with a rounded base, softly hairy, and with a serrated margin and a petiole up to 5 cm long; they appear superficially similar to those of the Stinging nettle Urtica dioica but do not sting, hence the common name "dead nettle". The flowers are white, produced in whorls ('verticillasters') on the upper part of the stem, the individual flowers 1.5-2.5 cm long.
The young leaves are edible, and can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The plant also has a number of uses in herbal medicine.
Bees are attracted to the flowers which contain nectar or pollen, hence the plant is sometimes called the Bee Nettle.
Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit Deadnettle, Greater Henbit) is a species of Lamium native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.
It is a low-growing annual plant growing to 10-25 cm tall, with soft, finely hairy stems. The leaves are opposite, rounded, 2-3 cm diameter, with a lobed margin. The flowers are pink to purple, 1.5-2 cm long. Less obvious is the notable feature of extensive runners which spread very close to the topsoil surface, as they are easily hidden by grass & other vegetation.
It flowers very early in the spring even in northern areas, and for most of the winter and the early spring in warmer areas such as the Mediterranean region. It propagates freely by seed and is regarded as a minor weed. Sometimes entire fields will be reddish-purple with its flowers before spring ploughing. Where common, is an important nectar and pollen plant for bees, especially honeybees, where it helps start the spring buildup.
It is widely naturalised in eastern North America and elsewhere, where it is often considered to be an invasive weed. However, its edibility and readiness to grow in many climes often mean it is permitted to grow when other 'weeds' are not.
Lamium maculatum (Spotted White Deadnettle) is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native throughout Europe, growing in a variety of habitats from open grassland to woodland, generally on moist, fertile soils.
Lamium purpureum - Red Deadnettle or Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) is a herbaceous flowering plant native to Europe and Asia.
It grows to 5-20 cm (rarely 30 cm) in height. The leaves are green at the bottom and shade to purplish at the top; they are 2-4 cm long and broad, with a 1-2 cm petiole (leaf stalk), and wavy to serrated margins.
The flowers are bright red-purple, and may be produced throughout the year, including mild weather in winter. This allows bees to gather its nectar for food when few other nectar sources are available. It is also a prominent source of pollen for bees in March/April (in UK), when bees need the pollen as protein to build up their nest.
Lamium moluccellifolium - Northern Deadnettle
Lamium hybridum - Cut-leaf Deadnettle
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