• Calyx

Differential Morphology of Purple Deadnettle, Henbit, & Ground Ivy

Updated: May 2, 2021

These three common mints are abundant in yards, gardens, fallow fields, and disturbed soil all across the US. All being of similar size and overall shape, with almost identical little purple irregular flowers, they are often confused with each other.

To help you get to know their unique features, I've created a video to show you some simple characteristics to look for to tell them apart and laid out the details in this post. You can check out the video on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/107342484222450/videos/223410732284967/

Morphological Characteristics of the Mint family (Lamiaceae)

  • Square stem

  • Opposite leaves

  • Usually Aromatic

  • Almost always zygomorphic flowers irregular flowers with 5 petals (3 up, 2 down)

1. Lamium purpureum -Purple Deadnettle (Red Deadnettle, Red Henbit)

Purpureum refers to the purple pigmentation of the top leaves and flowers, which come from anthocyanin flavonoids


  • Leaves are deltoid or cordate

  • Serrate margins

  • Opposite leaves with petioled (or stalked) leaf attachment

  • Leaves turn reddish/purple toward the top of the stem

Edible & Medicinal:

  • Cooling, astringent, diaphoretic - good for hot conditions & inflammation (rheumatism, fevers, etc.)

  • Antibacterial & Antifungal

  • Vulnerary

  • Highly nutritious - packed with Vitamin C & flavonoids, antioxidants, iron

  • Mild tasting but a little fuzzy- great pot herb

2. Lamium amplexicaule - Common Henbit (Greater Henbit, Henbit Deadnettle)