Henbit

By William T. Hathaway

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaulis)

Although I have featured this ubiquitous weed in a former article, it deserves an improved colorful close-up.

It is an annual or winter-annual that tends to flower throughout the year. It crops up in waste places, lawns, fields and roadsides oftentimes forming continuous small hedgerows in fallow fields. Like most tiny, weedy flowers, its beauty is overlooked.

Lamium amplexicaulis seems an outrageously long name for such a small plant: the genus, Lamium, is from a Greek word meaning “thread,” describing the straight tube below the spreading lips of the flower. The species name, amplexicaulis, is Latin for “clasping,” accounting for the leaves that closely surround the stem. Henbit is a colloquial name suggesting that the seeds of the plants are eaten by chickens.


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