One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Sorry to be late with your Sunday Mystery! The cold this week slowed us squirrels down, but here you go:

Mystery #147

A little plant you’ve probably seen springing up in the lesser-tended corners of your garden…or even your lawn. But what is it?

Give us a guess in the comments, and I’ll check back in later!

~~~

One reader put out a guess that this is a speedwell…perhaps we should have shown a scale with out plant. It’s a bit larger, standing as tall or a bit taller than grass. This is Purple Dead Nettle, Lamium purpureum. It’s sometimes spelled deadnettle or dead-nettle.

Purple Deadnettle

Here’s a better photo, showing a more mature plant, with the signature purplish leaves. It is not a true nettle and does not sting–thus the ‘dead’ in front of the nettle–though looks similar.

Purple Dead Nettle stem

Note the stems are square, so the dead nettle is a mint and spreads like one. This is an invasive plant in the United States (native to Europe and Asia) can be found blooming in some corner most anytime of year when it’s warm. On the flip side of taking over you humans’  lawns, that’s helpful to bees, because they’ll come out searching for pollen most anytime it’s warm. Here’s a nice article from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s feature of Weed of the Month.

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