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Old 09-11-2018, 03:18 PM
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Default Purple Dead Nettle / Lamium Purpureum

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Purple Dead Nettle
Lamium Purpureum

(See full blog post with pictures here.)

Purple dead nettle is not actually a nettle, but rather a member of the mint family. The plant contains vitamin C, iron, fiber and other minerals and can be found growing in large colonies through much of the U.S. and Europe. It's considered and invasive weed in the U.S., so do your civic duty and eat up.

Purple dead nettle is fairly easy to identify because of it's square stem (common among members of the mint family) and small purple to pink flowers that show up in early spring. The plant has opposing pairs of leaves alternating down the stem, usually stopping about half way down.
By making sure there is a square stem and this leaf structure, it's almost impossible to misidentify making it a fairly safe plant for foraging. Though it is occasionally confused with Henbit for some reason, that is actually it's cousin and is edible in the same manner.

The leaves of the purple dead nettle are edible raw or cooked and has a taste along the lines of parley. I have seen people eat the stem and flowers as well with no repercussions, but as the rest has never been said to be edible, I have shied away from them. Something to keep in mind if things get really desperate I suppose, but just in case stick to the leaves.
The plant was also used for some medical purposes. A poultice can be made from the leaves to staunch bleeding and the plant also works as a natural anti-histamine, so it's good for allergies and inflammation.
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foraging, lamium purpureum, purple dead nettle, wild edible

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