Flower of the month – April

Red Dead-nettle – Lamium purpureum

Red Dead-nettle is an annual which is one of the first plants to bloom in spring.  It brightens up grassy areas and provides an abundant early nectar source for insects.  It is a plant of disturbed ground and flowers from March to October.

Red Dead-nettle is found on grassy path side verges all over Magog Down, on the car park banks and grass areas, on the edge of the arable field and in some places in the meadows.

Red Dead-nettle has a two-lipped tubular flower, the upper lip hooded and the lower lips with small side lobes.  Bumblebees and other insects with long tongues can reach into the long flower tubes for the nectar.

The plant is softly downy with whorls of pinkish-purple flowers.  The leaves at the top are tinted purple when young.  It is not related to true nettles and does not sting.  Plants in the Dead-nettle family have square stems.

You can find more information about the wild flowers found on Magog Down in our Flowers throughout the Year critterdex.