Just a lill diddy on one of my new favorite Plant Allies!!!...
I’m so excited to be sharing with you:
Purple Dead Nettle! <3 <3 <3
I have been craving Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica-- post to come!) since the consistent arrival of the sun, and for some time I kept hearing about Dead Purple Nettle thinking that she is directly related to Stinging Nettle…well, I found her and she’s not!
Dead Purple Nettle is a part of the Lamiaceae or mint family while Stinging Nettle is a part of the Urticaceae family. You can identify her through her square stems, and purple tops with a slightly toothed leaf and mini cupped flowers. The common name is “Purple” for obvious reasons, “Dead Nettle” because she does not sting and apparently resembles nettle. I personally don’t see a true resemblance, however, I find that the name itself had me searching for this plant and oh, did I get an abundance this week!
But you be the judge-here are the images side by side...
Usages, Benefits and Taste
Purple dead nettle has a slight sweet taste of a bright fresh green. She’s not musty or peppery, or minty, just light, green spinach tasting, and mildly sweet….and those super cute tiny flower are just the sweetest! There is not a menthol taste in this plant and can be used both in sweet and savory dishes. I’ve been using her as a garnish in my Breakfast Buddha Bowls, tacos, and gram masalas as well as in smoothies and fresh lemonades.
According to Natural Living, this plant ally has a wide variety of benefits including being an anti-inflammatory, an antibacterial and a diuretic. She is also loaded with Vitamin C, Iron, fiber, and antioxidants.
So whether you eat her whole, sprinkle over a favored dish or garnish in a favorite springtime/summertime drink-this perennial beauty is medicinally and nutritiously on point!
Where to Find Her?
I’ve found this plant growing in two community gardens, both in Bridgeport Community Garden as well as in The Garden of Wonders in Pilsen. She often times comes up on her own, but you can also purchase her at a wonderful community based perennial garden shop: Homan Grown (which by the way, prices are on point and cheaper than most garden centers and the owner, AnnaMaria, is the most knowledgeable, friendly person I know) as well as at Christy Webber Farm and Garden Center if you’re here in Chicago.
Purple Dead Nettle gets to about 8” high and is a great filler and ground cover. She edible, delicious, great for pollinators including honey bees and bumble bees, and will make any garden beautiful! Needless to say, she's her own unique beauty and I'm so happy to have found her! <3
Happy Foraging and Health!