Red Dead Nettle – Lamium purpureum

Red Dead-Nettle (Lamium purpureum) is sometimes know as Red Deadnettle or Purple Deadnettle as it is known in the USA, is a member of the Mint Family.
Red Dead-Nettle can reach a height of 30 cm, the stem is erect and often red in colour. The stem is square shaped and has 4 edges, with soft hair along those edges and it does produce an unpleasant smell.
The flower is often purple / red but is very occasionally white in colour. They can reach between 10 – 20mm in length with 5 petals. The flowers appear in clusters between and amongst the leaves. The leaves appear opposite on the stalk , and each are smooth with hair and they have a shallow tooth like edge with the upper leaves having more of a red tint to the leaf.

The seeds from this plant tend to drop around April to November. Each seed has an oil like coating which helps to attract insects such as ants. These insects collect the seeds, and this is what helps to distribute the seeds.Once the seed is dropped the seed doesnt always begin to grow straight away, the seed itself can remain dormant in the soil for a number of years before it begins germintating, this only happens when the growing codititions are suitable for the plant.

Red Dead Nettle likes to grow in aired soil, for example soil that is often found on vegetable patches that has been well dug, although it doesnt tend to survive well in the wild, unless it can grow on arable land. Although this plant can flower for an exceptionally long time it still produces a large amount of seeds. It can often be seen with the red flowers during light frosts and as long as the soil doesnt freeze it has been known to flower right into the middle of winter.

Height: 5 – 20cm
Flowering Time: March to October
Preferred Conditions: Commonly found in gardens this plant thrives in cultivated land and disturbed soil.

Red Dead Nettle - Lamium purpureum