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Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum L.)

Also known as red deadnettle.

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Purple Deadnettle


An annual mint-family plant, native to Eurasia and introduced in North America.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Mostly found in moist, exposed areas with fertile soil.

This plant has benefitted hugely from human management of the landscape. It thrives in agricultural areas, where it is often found in fallow fields and often is able to complete its lifecycle over the winter. In urban and suburban areas, it benefits from management practices which expose the soil.

It is often able to set seed before mowing begins in spring, so it is sometimes found in lawns, especially small patches of grass and at margins of lawns.

Life Cycle

This plant is an annual, usually a winter annual, less commonly growing at other times of year.

Seeds usually sprout in fall but the plant remains small. Young plants have rounded leaves of a solid green color, very different from what the plant looks like at maturity. Initially, the plant usually grows out against the ground in a sprawling habit. Unlike many mint-family plants, it does not frequently root at the nodes, instead usually staying connected to its root system only at a single point where the plant sprouted.

The root system is often quite shallow, forming a mat that follows areas of moist, rich soil.

In late winter and early spring, the plant begins growing upright, and the leaves take on a more pointed shape and purplish hue, and it then blooms. Plants usually die down in summer after producing seeds.

Some late-sprouting plants, however, can grow in summer, especially in cooler years. In summer, the plant prefers more shaded, protected, and moist locations than in winter where it can grow in more exposed areas.

Seeds require exposed conditions to germinate.

Lamium purpureum (Purple Dead Nettle) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Lamium purpureum (Purple Deadnettle) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Lamium purpureum | Go Botany (About This Site)

Lamium purpureum | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

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Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.