Praire’s Plants: Henbit

Scientific Name: Lamium amplexicaule

Common names: Common henbit, dead-nettle henbit

Appearance: Identifiable as a mint relative by its square stems, henbit tends to be quite short but can spread broadly. Leaves are medium green, scalloped, opposite-paired and hairy; flowers are pinkish-purple and form on stalks in whorls, blooming in the very early spring. Looks vaguely similar to purple dead nettle to some, though I’ve never much thought so. 

Range: Native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia; naturalized through nearly all of North America

Historical and Medicinal Uses: Henbit has been a salad herb for the last 400 years in parts of the world, and it’s quite good eating. Some modern herbalists claim it has several medicinal uses, but thus far they’ve neither borne the tests of time nor science, so I’m not sure they merit discussion. 

Associations and Potential Uses: Henbit is quite a peaceful plant, and I find it to work well in herbal mixes dedicated to releasing tension and bound-up energy, and comforting those in mourning. I also have found henbit flowers in particular to be beloved by fae, and a useful offering for them. 

Urtica dioica (common nettle)

Urtica dioica is a common nettle that if touched will cause a stinging sensation and irritation to the skin. Heating the irritated area of skin or the sting will help reduce the pain and neutralise it.