Lamiaceae (mint or thyme family)
This little purple annual tricks us into thinking she is a cousin of the stinging nettle. Even the common name suggests this. Lamium purpureum has no sting and is actually related to mint and thyme.
The common name and Latin name disagree too on the colour. Are the heart shaped leaves red or purple tinged?
It is a fairly common annual starting from seed every year. Typically found flowering between March and October.
Found growing year round in milder climates. This particular plant photographed in the Aude in February.
Unfortunately, red dead-nettles are often dug up or pulled out of gardens. The bees love them!
Lamium purpureum does not have as many documented medicinal uses as Lamium album (white dead-nettle). However, Mrs Grieve advises leaves and flowers are a useful decoction for haemorrhage. Barker lists styptic and astringent as medicinal actions. Both, Grieve and Barker, recommend the tea for ‘a chill’ suggesting a febrifuge action.
Susun Weed uses Lamium purpureum leaves and flowers in two different salads. One she calls a green salad. The green salad includes leaves of chickweed, garlic mustard and dandelion. The other is fairy salad. Sure to look gorgeous as it includes violet, periwinkle and dandelion flowers.