COMMON NAME: Yellow archangel
d, spotted dead nettle:
While this plant
bears a strong resemblance to a stinging nettle, it is in fact unrelated and its leaves have no sting.
If you have lots of ground to cover that is in a dry and shady area, in zones 4 - 8 then Lamium is the plant to try. It is easy to propagate, requires no care once established (keep cuttings well watered during the first season they are planted) and actually thrives while growing under trees.
Lamium is an evergreen to deciduous perennial groundcover. It is member of the mint (Labiate) family, as evidenced by its square stem and opposite leaves. As with other members of the mint family Lamium can also be invasive and weedy.
Its flowers are pink or white but really are a minor feature compared to its variegated leaves. It grows about 8 inches tall and the stems spread and sprawl so plants can be placed 18 - 24 inches apart and it will fill in the bare space in a couple of years. For quicker coverage of bare ground cuttings can be clustered closely.
A very similar plant called Lamiastrum galeobdolan 'Variegatum' Family: Lamiaceae Common: Variegated yellow archangel has yellow flowers. This seems to be what I actually have in my yard.
If you plan to grow it in DEEP shade look for a plant variety that has more green than white as it will also have more chlorophyll to allow it to photosynthesize more effectively the extreme condition of very low light. Can also be grown in the sun if kept well watered.
There is an annual form Lamium amplexicaule commonly called "henbit". This is a common weed, found in lawns and among cultivated crops. It is a winter annual because it lives and grows in the cold.
This is the "weed" with tiny purple flowers that little children love to gather, along with dandelions and buttercups.
Henbit is said to repel most insects.
Bruised leaves applied to the skin are said to staunch bleeding. Also used to induce sweating.
Henbit is one of the "Seven Herbs of Spring" and as such is eaten with rice gruel (Kayu) on January 7 in Japan to ward off evil spirits and with hope for longevity and good health.
Lamium can used as either pot herbs, in teas, or jelly and may be higher in vitamins than many of the domestic greens we buy at the local grocery.
Annual winter "weeds" were an important seasonal food before the days of year round fresh produce. After a winter of preserved foods; later winter / spring herbs were a welcome change.