Both members of the mint family, purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) are often confused. Opposite leaves, square stems and purple flowers can make these weeds hard to differentiate. Learn how to tell the two apart with these helpful identification tips.
Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
What to look for: Pink to purple flowers; hairy leaves with rounded teeth
Life cycle: Winter annual; reproduces by seeds. Flowers in late winter/early spring; seeds mature from April to June. Will disappear under high-temperature stress.
Leaves: Hairy with rounded teeth; upper leaves clasp the stem
Flowers: Tubular with two lips; pink to purple in color
Look-alikes: Purple deadnettle, ground ivy, speedwells
Commonly found: Sites with thin, nutrient-rich soil
Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum)
What to look for: Purple-tinged leaves with pointed tips; purple-red flowers
Life cycle: Winter annual; reproduces by seeds. Germinates in fall, flowers in late winter/early spring.
Leaves: Opposite leaves with pointed tips have a purple tinge; grow on short or long petioles depending on where the leaf is located on the plant
Flowers: Purple-red; grow in clusters of three to six in the upper leaves
Look-alikes: Henbit, speedwells
Commonly found: Moist, shady sites with thin turf
Treatment recommendations for henbit and purple deadnettle: Both weeds germinate in the fall, reproducing by seed and flowers in the spring. Dense, lush turf is the best way to reduce the spread of these weeds. Apply a preemergence herbicide, such as Dimension® specialty herbicide, prior to germination in the fall. Properly mow, fertilize and water in spring and summer to minimize thin turf areas.
State restrictions on the sale and use of Dimension specialty herbicide products apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details.