Lamium purpureum

Scientific Name Lamium purpureum L.
Common Names English: Red dead-nettle; German: Rote Taubnessel; French: Lamier pourpre; Spanish: Ortiga muerta roja
Description Annual or biennial weed, propagating itself by seed, 10-25 cm (3.93 - 9.84 inch) tall.


Characteristic Features

Offensive smell; leaves do not clasp the main stalk, but are stemmed.


Small, a round oval in shape, smooth-edged, stemmed, with a small notch at the tip and, often, two overlapping lobes at the base.


Bushy and branching, square in cross-section, often red-to-violet above.


Opposite, forming a cross, a rounded heart-shape, with long stems.
The upper leaves with short stems and often with a reddish tinge near the inflorescence.
The leaf edge saw-toothed.
Distinct leaf veins.

Propagation Organs


Purplish-red, 6-10 flowers stacked in false whorls of 3-7. The single flower is clearly two-lipped: the upper lip is hemispherical and downy; the lower lip is longer, made up of a double-toothed middle lip and two small lateral lips.

Flowering Period

April to late autumn, and often through the winter.


One-seeded nutlets, a long oval in shape, keeled in the middle; approx. 2 mm in size.


Quite long, pale gray with white marks.
60-300 seeds per plant.
Germination depth generally 0.5-2 cm (0.19 - 0.78 inch).
Germination period all year round.

Viability of Seeds

8-9 years.


By seeds.



Waste ground, thickets, roadsides, railroads.


Fresh, humus-rich, well aerated sandy and loamy soils.

Additional Crop Information

Cereals, corn, vineyards, gardens, vegetable gardening.

Agricultural Importance

L. purpureum is not a very competitive weed that usually is shaded out by wheat in spring. It reaches maturity before competition for light occurs, however it belongs to the major weeds in corn and cereals due to high abundance.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

The economic weed threshold in wheat is high (40 plants/m²; 4.7 plants/sq. ft.). Mechanical weeding including the use of a tine harrow may offer high levels of control when performed at the seedling stage.

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