Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum)


This beautiful little flower grows everywhere along the street in the city. It starts blooming quite early, and by the end of April is in full flower, as these plants were in a slightly weedy patch by the street in Beechview. The whole plant is tiny, and the flowers would be inconspicuous, except that the upper leaves are various shades of purple or dark pink, setting off the pale pink flowers beautifully.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

LAMIUM L. DEAD NETTLE

Calyx tubular-bell-shaped, about 5-nerved, with 5 nearly equal awl-pointed teeth. Corolla dilated at the throat; upper lip ovate or oblong, arched, narrowed at the base; the middle lobe of the spreading lower lip broad, notched at the apex, contracted as if stalked at the base; the lateral ones small, at the margin of the throat. Decumbent herbs, the lowest leaves small and long-petioled, the middle heart-shaped and doubly toothed, the floral subtending the whorled flower-cluster. (Name from lamos, throat, in allusion to the ringent corolla.)

* Annuals or biennials, low; flowers small, purplish, at most 1.5 cm. long.

L. PURPUREUM L. Leaves roundish or oblong, heart-shaped, crenate-toothed, all petioled. N. E. to N. C. Apr., May. (Nat. from Eu.)


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