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Dead Nettles

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Spring Spring Summer Summer Winter Winter

Dead nettles have no sting but probably evolved to look like stinging nettles as a defence against predators.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Dead Nettles, White Dead Nettle, Red or Purple Dead Nettle, Yellow archangel, Henbit Dead Nettle
Scientific Name Lamium sp
Season Start Jan
Season End Dec
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Green, nettle like arrow shaped leaves with very serrated edges, the underneath covered in small non-stinging hairs with some on top. Growing in pairs on opposite sides of the stalk.


Beautiful orchid like flowers growing in groups around the stem varying in colour from white to yellow to red/purple.

Flower Buds

All in a circle around the stem at the leaf nodes.


Tough, square stems. Very fibrous and covered in small non-stinging hairs. Green to red/purple.


Woodland, hedgerows, the edge of commons, roadsides and paths.

Possible Confusion

The Stinging Nettle.


Slightly like spinach when cooked but has a flavour of its own.




Only young leaves or bright green tops of larger plants are usable for cooking unless flaming over a fire when more of the plant can be used.

The flowers can hold a drop of nectar and make a pleasant tasting and looking addition to a salad.

Medicinal Uses

Has been used as a herbal remedy for skin problems.


9 comments for Dead Nettles

  1. Rosemary says:


    Thanks for the video, I have lots of that plant at the allotment, it did come to me as family of the stinging nettles, did not know it was edible tho, will be trying some of those flowers now.

    Thanks again!

  2. Christopher says:

    I’ve noticed that underneath each flower petal there’s a tiny anther/stamen with four perfectly rectangular black marks. Is this also a key identifier?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      These marks are on all white dead nettles so could be used as a key identifier.

  3. Patrick says:

    Flowers do taste delicious – slightly sweet, fresh, a Spring treat!

  4. Ann Barnes says:

    Can dead nettle tea be made even though the plant is in flower

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      As Dead Nettles are in the mint family, flowering will not cause problems from consumption.

  5. Tracey Cowell says:

    Can you tell me if the variegated yellow dead nettle is edible as I have noticed a large clump of this on the edge of a wood it has very marked white and slightly purple veins to the leaf

  6. John Robinson says:

    Is there any problem with using white dead nettles as a replacement for stinging nettles in soup?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Dead Nettles are edible so the soup won’t do any harm but they are in a different family to Nettles so the soup will taste different. I have never tried making soup with Dead Nettles but I can’t see why not.

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