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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Alternative names

Henbit, dead-nettle

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USDA NRCS Nacogdoches (TX) Technical Office

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Henbit is another common weed from Eurasia that occasionally makes a nuisance of itself. It is easy to identify because of the sessile orbicular leaves that appear to wrap around the sprawling stems. Other Lamium spp. (Dead Nettles) are more erect plants; their upper leaves don't wrap around the stems. Another plant that resembles Henbit somewhat is Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy). The leaves of Ground Ivy always have petioles, and its flowers occur in smaller clusters from the leaf axils. These flowers are violet-blue or purple and rather broad with conspicuous side lobes, while the more narrow flowers of Henbit are pink and lack such side lobes. The common name 'Henbit' refers to the seeds, which presumably can be eaten by chickens.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This adventive plant is a winter annual or biennial, branching frequently near the base. The green or reddish brown stems are 4-angled, nearly glabrous, and up to 2' long. They have a tendency to sprawl across the ground, although the new growth of the stems is more erect. The opposite leaves are up to 1" long and across, occurring at intervals along the stems. The lower leaves have long petioles, while the upper leaves where the flowers occur are sessile and wrap around the stems. They are orbicular, crenate, and/or palmately lobed; these lobes are shallow, but cleft. The upper surface of the leaves has conspicuous palmate venation and is slightly hairy. The stems produce axillary and terminal whorls of 6-12 sessile flowers where the sessile leaves occur. Each tubular flower is about ½" long and semi-erect. The corolla of this flower is long and narrow at the base, becoming broader with two spreading lips. The upper lip is shaped like a hood with a patch of fine hairs on its outer side, while the lower lip hangs downward. This lower lip is narrow at the base, but become broader and divided into two rounded lobes along its outer edge. The outer surface of the corolla is pink to purplish pink, while its inner surface is white with a few purplish pink dots. The green calyx is slightly hairy and has 5 narrow teeth; it is much shorter than the corolla. In addition to these insect-pollinated flowers, Henbit also produces inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers occasionally. The blooming period occurs primarily during the spring and lasts about 1-2 months; some plants also bloom during the fall for about a month. Each flower is replaced by 4 nutlets. Each nutlet is 3-angled, oblong, and somewhat broader and more rounded at one tip than the other. Its surface is greyish brown with small white speckles. The root system consists of a shallow taproot that becomes finely branched. This plant reproduces by reseeding itself, or it can reproduce vegetatively by the stems rooting at the nodes.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description and adaptation

Mint Family (Lamiaceae). Unlike many of its relatives, henbit does not have a strong or distinctive odor. This introduced native of Europe and the Mediterranean, is a cool season annual/biennial that reaches a height of 6 to 15 inches. The plant has two types of leaves. The lower leaves have petioles and are not associated with the flowers, while the upper leaves are sessile (not stemmed) and located just below the flower clusters. Both leaf types are similar in shape, being somewhat rounded, incised, and opposite. Under a hand lens, the flower bracts are very hairy. The zygomorphic flowers are small, usually purple, and to the novice would appear to resemble a very small orchid. The stems are square. It is very common in yards, parks, cropland fields, and roadsides.

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USDA NRCS Nacogdoches (TX) Technical Office

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Henbit is fairly common in most areas of Illinois, except the NW, where it is uncommon or absent. This plant is native to Eurasia and Africa. Habitats include fields, pastures, gardens, nursery plots, edges of yards, lawns, waste areas, and areas along buildings. There is a strong preference for disturbed areas. Henbit can spread aggressively.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Distribution in Egypt

Nile region, oases, Mediterranean region and Sinai

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© Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Source: Bibliotheca Alexandrina - EOL Ar

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Global Distribution

North Africa, temperate Eurasia.

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Source: Bibliotheca Alexandrina - EOL Ar

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Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; SW Asia, Europe]
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Throughout temperate regions.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Elevation Range

1200-3700 m
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Description

Herbs annual or biennial. Stems to 30 cm, much branched at base, ascending, subglabrous. Upper leaves sessile; petiole of basal leaves at least as long as blade; leaf blade circular to reniform, 1-2 × 0.7-1.5 cm, sparsely strigose, base truncate to broadly truncate-cuneate, semi-clasping, margin deeply crenate to almost palmately lobed, apex rounded. Verticillasters 6-10-flowered; bracts ca. 4 × 0.3 mm, ciliate. Calyx tubular-campanulate, 4-5 × 1.7-2 mm, densely villous, glabrous except for white villous apically inside; teeth lanceolate-subulate, 1.5-2 mm, margin ciliate. Corolla purple-red or reddish, ca. 1.7 cm, puberulent; tube ca. 1.3 cm, throat ca. 3 mm wide, annulus absent; upper lip densely purple-red pubescent on outside, straight, oblong, ca. 4 mm, apex slightly curved; lower lip slightly longer; middle lobe obcordate, 2-lobulate. Filaments glabrous; anthers hirsute. Nutlets grayish yellow, obovoid, triquetrous, constricted at base, ca. 2 × 1 mm, white tuberculate. Fl. Mar-May, fr. Jul-Aug.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Galeobdolon amplexicaule (Linnaeus) Moench; Lamiopsis amplexicaulis (Linnaeus) Opiz; Pollichia amplexicaulis (Linnaeus) Willdenow.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Henbit is fairly common in most areas of Illinois, except the NW, where it is uncommon or absent. This plant is native to Eurasia and Africa. Habitats include fields, pastures, gardens, nursery plots, edges of yards, lawns, waste areas, and areas along buildings. There is a strong preference for disturbed areas. Henbit can spread aggressively.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Roadsides, forest margins, marshes, sometimes weed in fields; 0-4000 m.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the early blooming flowers attract long-tongued bees primarily, including honeybees and bumblebees. The foliage is eaten by voles and box turtles, while rabbits rarely bother it.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Flower-Visiting Insects of Henbit in Illinois

Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) introduced
(the butterfly sucks nectar; this observation is from Fothergill & Vaughn; information is limited)

Butterflies
Pieridae: Colias eurytheme sn (FV)

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Foodplant / parasite
Neoerysiphe galeopsidis parasitises live Lamium amplexicaule

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
sporangium of Peronospora lamii parasitises live Lamium amplexicaule
Other: unusual host/prey

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lamium amplexicaule

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lamium amplexicaule

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 10
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Status

This plant is considered to have invasive characteristics and be weedy by several sources. Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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USDA NRCS Nacogdoches (TX) Technical Office

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Control

Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely. Always read label and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective.

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USDA NRCS Nacogdoches (TX) Technical Office

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Weediness

This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use. Weed information is also available from the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS Nacogdoches (TX) Technical Office

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Typical growing conditions are full or partial sun and moist to mesic soil that is loamy and fertile. Plants become dormant during the hot weather of summer.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Uses

Henbit provides valuable erosion control in many cropland fields of the southern U.S., though it is also treated as a weed throughout the U.S.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Lamium amplexicaule

Lamium amplexicaule, commonly known as henbit deadnettle or greater henbit, is a species of Lamium native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.

It is a low-growing annual plant growing to 10–25 cm tall, with soft, finely hairy stems. The leaves are opposite, rounded, 2–3 cm diameter, with a lobed margin. The flowers are pink to purple, 1.5–2 cm long. The specific name refers to the amplexicaul leaves (leaves grasping the stem).

Description[edit]

Henbit deadnettle is an annual herb with a sprawling habit and short erect squarish, lightly hairy stems. It grows to a height of about 10 to 30 cm (4 to 12 in). The leaves are in opposite pairs, often with long internodes. The lower leaves are stalked and the upper ones stalkless, often fused, and clasping the stems. The blades are hairy and kidney-shaped, with rounded teeth. The flowers are relatively large and form a few-flowered terminal spike with axillary whorls. The calyx is regular with five lobes and closes up after flowering. The corolla is purplish-red, fused into a tube 15 to 20 mm (0.6 to 0.8 in) long. The upper lip is convex, 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) long and the lower lip has three lobes, two small side ones and a larger central one 1.5 to 2.5 mm (0.06 to 0.10 in) long. There are four stamens, two long and two short. The gynoecium has two fused carpels and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp.[1]

This plant flowers very early in the spring even in northern areas, and for most of the winter and the early spring in warmer locations such as the Mediterranean region. At times of year when there are not many pollinating insects, the flowers self-pollinate.[1]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Henbit deadnettle is probably native to the Mediterranean region but has spread around the world as an arable weed. It is found growing in bare places, gardens, fields and waste places.[1] It propagates freely by seed and is regarded as a minor weed. Sometimes entire fields will be reddish-purple with its flowers before spring ploughing. Where common, it is an important nectar and pollen plant for bees, especially honeybees, where it helps start the spring build up..

It is widely naturalised in eastern North America and elsewhere, where it is often considered to be an invasive species. However, its attractive appearance, edibility and readiness to grow in many climates often mean it is permitted to grow when other 'weeds' are not.

Uses[edit]

The leaves, stem, and flowers of the plant are edible and have a slightly sweet and peppery flavor. Henbit can be eaten raw or cooked.

Medicinally Henbit is a great spring herb as it stimulates the body to remove toxins via the skin and digestive system. Henbit also is said to reduce fevers and inflammation.[citation needed]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Henbit dead-nettle: Lamium amplexicaule". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
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Notes

Comments

Used medicinally for traumatic injury.
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