Lamium amplexicaule
Lamiaceae (mints)

A branching, soft, weedy plant with square stems, lacking a pleasant scent, blooming in early spring. Blooms February–November. Flowers are small, bright lavender with red spots, with tubular, lipped configuration typical of the mint family, in terminal clusters, subtended by sessile leaves. Except for the leaves right beneath the flower clusters, all leaves are rounded, scalloped, close to the ground, becoming more elongated farther up the stem.

Similar species: Dead nettle (L. purpureum) has a distinctive, 4-sided, pagoda-like or pyramidal leaf arrangement. The heart-shaped leaves become larger and have longer stems the lower they are on the stalk.

Height: to 10 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Common in waste places, fallow fields, gardens, roadsides, and railroads. Native of Eurasia and Africa.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide, but mostly south of the Missouri River.
Common and widespread.
Human connections: 
This non-native weed is nevertheless enjoyed for its ability to turn fallow fields pinkish purple in early spring. Its shallow roots prevent it from being a serious agricultural weed. Additionally, it is an edible plant and may be eaten as a potherb or added to spring salads.
Ecosystem connections: 
Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees drink nectar from these early-blooming flowers, and some species of birds consume the minute seeds. The plants can play a role in binding soils that are otherwise bare and prone to erosion.
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