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red deadnettle

Red Dead-nettle

Thursday, 6th June 2002, West Yorkshire

red deadnettlered deadnettleRed Dead-nettle, also known a purple dead-nettle, Lamium purpureum, can be leggy, like this specimen from a shady corner of our garden by the hedge (left) or more compact (right) when it grows on open ground. Its square stem is covered by tiny bristly hairs which, viewed through a hand lens, remind me of the downward pointing thorns that help climbing roses to scramble through the hedgerows.

The heart-shaped, blunt-toothed leaves grow in opposite pairs. The botanical name for dead-nettles, Lamium, probably refers to the long throat of the flower as laimos is Greek for throat.

In the past red and white dead-nettles have been cooked like spinach but they're probably don't come into the gourmet class as they've also been used in making pig-swill. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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