Purple Deadnettle

Latin: Lamium Purpureum
French: Lamier Pourpre

Purple Deadnettle
A patch of purple deadnettle

Lamium purpureum is one of the easiest wild plants to identify.

It is a herbaceous plant, usually less than 30 centimetres high. The stem is square and the entire plant bears a strong resemblance to mint. The leaves are finely hairy, green at the base and turning purple at the top; they are long and broad, 2-4 cm, with a stalk of 1-2 cm, and wavy to serrated margins.

Lamium purpureum is an incredibly useful “weed”. It flowers from March, providing essential nectar for pollinators. The roots aerate the soil and the plant covers the ground in winter to prevent soil erosion and compaction.

It grows almost everywhere in Belgium. It is self-sowing and is often found in empty lots, cultivated fields, forest paths and roadsides. In March and April you can spot purple deadnettle incredibly easily because it creates pretty little purple patches in fields and lawns. The flowers and beauty last well into October and may be present even throughout the winter in milder areas.

Sometimes it can be confused with Henbit, however the henbit leaves grow directly off of the stem of the plant while the deadnettle leaves have a little stalk.


It can be made into herbal oils and antiseptic balms, though I haven’t tried my hand at those yet. What I’ve done so far is to test how edible the plant is. While there are some sites which call it a superfood and many foragers who eagerly add it into their diets in the springtime, I find that the earthy aftertaste is not one of my favorites so I prefer to mix it with other plants from the same family.

Before using purple deadnettle for anything, make sure you wash and dry it thoroughly. I prefer to remove as much of the stem as possible, keeping only the leaves and flowers.

Deadnettle, cleaned and ready to use
A small harvest from my backyard

Mint and Deadnettle Tea

Rosemary, sage and mint have been shown to support memory, concentration and other cognitive functions. Purple Deadnettle provides anti-inflammatory properties and helps with gut health.

Two parts chopped mint, to one part each of rosemary leaves, chopped sage, and purple deadnettle

3 tablespoons of herbs to 1 litre of water

Bring the water to the boil. Remove from heat, add the herbs and allow them to infuse for 20 minutes.

Drink iced, garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

Red Deadnettle Pesto

(Recipe adapted by Philippe from a few sources)
1 1/2 cups basil leaves
3/4 cup mixed herbs, rosemary, sage, and purple deadnettle
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Blend it all together and enjoy!





Wild plant guides


Nature gate


Grow Forage Cook Ferment







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