General: annual from a short taproot, generally branched at the base, the several weak stems creeping below. Herbage inconspicuously stiff- or flat-hairy to almost hairless.
Leaves: opposite, the ones on the lower part of the stem stalked, with broad, rounded, cordate blades, coarsely round-toothed or -lobed, seldom as much as 1.5 cm long. The upper leaves and the leaflike bracts under the flower clusters are stalkless, broad-based, clasping, often 1.5 cm long, longer than the calyces but usually shorter than the corollas.
Flowers: few in terminal whorls, sometimes in a few more whorls from the upper bracts. Calyx stiff-hairy, 5-8 mm long, the 5 narrow, erect lobes about equaling the tube. Corolla purplish, 12-18 mm long, hairless inside, hairy outside, the hairs outside the upper lip purple. The upper lip erect, arched like a hood, 3-5 mm long. Lower lip 2-lobed. Occasional plants produce small flowers, never opening, fertilized in the bud.
Fruits: nutlets, angularly 3-sided, blunt at the tip.
A weed in fields and waste places, in w. and c. parts of MT. Native to Eurasia and n. Africa, now well established in N. America.
Young leaves henbit dead-nettle are edible raw or cooked. They can be added to salads or used as a potherb.
The plant is antirheumatic, excitant, fever-reducing, laxative, stimulant, and has agents that induce sweating.
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