Plant of the Week: White Dead Nettle

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50-100 cm tall, with green, four-angled stems. The leaves are triangular with a rounded base, softly hairy, and with a serrated margin and a petiole up to 5 cm long; like many other members of the Lamiaceae, they appear superficially similar to those of the Stinging nettle Urtica dioica but do not sting, hence the common name “dead nettle”. The flowers are white, produced in whorls (‘verticillasters’) on the upper part of the stem, the individual flowers 1.5-2.5 cm long.

The young leaves are edible, and can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The plant is also used in herbal medicine, for example as a dermatological remedy.

Bees are attracted to the flowers which contain nectar or pollen, hence the plant is sometimes called the Bee Nettle.

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