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What Is This Early Spring Weed With Purple Flower

lamium-amplexicaule-henbitAsk the Expert: Can you identify this plant? (weed) Picture enclosed, I hope, Thanks. Rufus

Plant Expert Reply:

The plant is called Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). Members of the Lamium genus can run the gamut from annuls to perennials and from wanted to unwanted plants. In this case Henbit is usually considered a weed. It usually pops up in early spring in lawns, flower & shrub beds. In the lawn, you can spray 2 4 D to get rid of it. It is a little more tricky in the shrub beds because the 2 4 D will damage the shrubs and the flowers if the chemical gets on them. I recommend pulling the Henbit that is in the shrub, but would spray the Henbit that is in the lawn.

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  1. Charlie Davis says:

    Jamie you should compare this to Lamium purpureum.

  2. How do I get this Henbit out of my vegetable garden before I start to plant?

  3. Amy,

    The best way to remove henbit is by hoeing or hand pulling. You could also try to smother it with woodchips, although this may or may not work. A broad-leaf herbicide can work, but be careful not to get it on your vegetables. You could also use a contact killing herbicide, such as Killzall or Roundup directly on the weed itself, again being very careful of your veggies.

  4. I have this in my yard. it first started about 3 weeks ago – I have only a few.. Now – I have them all over the yard.. They multiplied like mad.. Also whats funny about it is that they are not in any of my neighbors yard.. How does that work??

  5. It most likely made it to your yard via wind or bird. The birds and the wind spread the seed of this plant and can do so over many miles. Your neighbor could be using a pre-emerge in his yard that keeps the henbit seed from coming up. You can get rid of the weed with a herbicide and then you need to use a pre-emerge next winter to keep the seed from germinating.

  6. Andrew Mobley says:

    Before you go off spraying herbicides on henbit, please know this:

    Henbit is one of the most important sources of nectar for honeybees in late winter and early spring. At this time of year, honeybees have used up their winter stores of honey and are desperate for nectar and pollen to feed the newly hatched bees that will produce the year’s honey crop. These same bees pollinate your vegetable gardens, so if you like to eat honey an like to eat any sort of tasty vegetable that requires bees to pollinate it, please to not kill off the henbit. As soon as the weather warms up in later spring, it will go away all by itself.

  7. Kate Sparks says:

    Really, 2 4 D for hen bit? This is not a noxious weed. Hen bit doesn’t last long in spring. Just pull it. 2 4 D is a very strong, dangerous herbicide. Using i 2 4 D on hen bit is like swatting a fly with a sledge hammer! Please don’t encourage the indiscriminate use of herbicides. I personally would never use i 2 4 D in a home landscape.

  8. Kate,

    I understand your concern about herbicides. If they are used both appropriately and properly, 2 4 D can be an effective and safe product. I commend your commitment to not use them in your own landscape.

  9. hey i’m not sure that is a picture of henbit. i may be wrong but i believe that is dead nettle lamium purpureum.

  10. I’m a beekeeper. I have this all over my yard and my bees love it. This and dandelion are the bees first food source. If you like your polinators, you may want to think twice before you decide to get rid of it. One mans weed is another mans food!

  11. Marisa Cumming says:

    That looks like Purple Dead Nettle to me… Same leaf structure as mint. Perhaps a close-up picture would be helpful.

  12. Vicki Clark says:

    Let me chime in with those above who support henbit! Please let the henbit stay awhile in your yard and garden, for the sake of the bees! Henbit is SO easy to pull out, and it is not going to hurt anything, and it will not come back till early next spring. Same thing goes for dandelion. A healthy, beautiful green lawn is not 100% grass. Thanks!

  13. Actually… it’s DEAD NETTLE, not Henbit. Similar but distinctly different.
    Both are considered weeds, and both are essential to keeping bees and other insects alive early in the spring.
    Dead Nettle can also be used as a medicinal herb.
    “Leave it be for the Bees”, when everything else starts to bloom, pull it – there’s absolutely no reason for pesticides on Henbit or Purple Nettle. How ridiculous… Smh.

  14. Joyce Watkins says:

    Is that like a ground cover? I have some purple flowers, more like a ground cover that comes every year. We let it grow along the fence. Butterflies and my bees love it.

  15. Joyce,

    Not really a ground cover it. Henbit makes individual plants, but several plants together make it look like a ground cover.

  16. Yvonne Watts says:

    In was trying to identify this weed in case my rabbits ate it. On another site it was described as Selfheal. Is this just another name for it?

  17. Jamie Woods says:

    While Self Heal and Henbit look similar and are similar species, they are not the same plant. They are both members of the mint family.

  18. Elizebette says:

    I saw my dog eating it… is it safe to consume?

  19. Jamie Woods says:

    Henbit is a member of the mint family. Mint is considered harmful to dogs when consumed in large amounts. If your dog has severe vomiting or diarrhea, take it to the vet.

  20. it is dead nettle.

  21. Jackie H says:

    Thank you all for your wisdom and knowledge about this purple mint shaped weed. I appreciate all of the advise/opinion about this weed and I want the bees to pollinate my garden but this stuff appears to be taking over my yard. I do my best to rid my property of it and if pulling doesn’t work, Weed Be Gone is next.

  22. If I pull it instead of using pesticide will it grow back in a few days/weeks?

  23. Jamie Woods says:

    If you pull it, there is a chance some plants will come back, but it will be healthier for your lawn and the environment.

  24. Ebert Williams says:

    Looks like creeping charley to me , which is very difficult to eradicate and will destroy and take over your entire lawn !

  25. Desiree Hoolahan says:

    This is horrible advice. This weed is actually medicinal in nature and is among the first food for bees in the season. If you pull this and or spray it with 2-4D you’re poisoning the bee population and acting counter productive to a healthy eco system in your garden. Learn to love and live with weeds and your garden will be healthier than ever. This is coming from a PNW Gardener who has completed OSU horticulture courses, volunteered at the local CSS and grown my families majority produce each spring-summer.

  26. I don’t care if it’s a weed or not. It’s beautiful and I wouldn’t care if my yard contained anything else. I wouldn’t even mow it down! Bees are welcome any time.

  27. Darlene Hernandez says:

    Oh thank you so much for the advice! I will let them be they are kinda pretty anyway but I want the BEES to do their thing 🙏🏻 I’m glad I read this before I pulled them out be safe and healthy thanks again

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