Purple dead nettle is an annual weed found in many people’s backyards. It’s an opportunistic plant that loves to follow human inhabitants and form patches in low, moist areas in fields and lawns.
Purple dead nettle is one of the first plants to emerge in early spring and likes to grow in moist areas in light shade to full sun. It’s often found in fields, lawns, near roadsides, and meadows.
Henbit is closely related to purple dead nettle as it’s in the same genus. The main difference between the two is that henbit’s flowers protrude up and away from the stem, and its upper leaves grow so close together they seem to form a circle around the upper stem.
Both the leaves and the flowers of purple dead nettle are edible. Harvest the young purple tops before and while it’s flowering. The lower leaves and stems are fibrous; the top few inches of young growth are tender and more tasty.