Scientific Name(s): Lamium amplexicaule and Lamium purpureum
What: leaves, stem, and flowers
How: raw, cooked, or tea
Where: sunny yards, urban areas
When: late fall, winter (in Houston), spring
Nutritional Value: vitamins, iron, antioxidants
Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Clumps of henbit begin showing up yards in mid-winter. Rarely standing over 10" tall, it's spindly form, odd-shaped leaves, and small, purple tubular flowers make it very noticeable against the brown, dead winter grass. Looking closely will reveal the oppositely-placed leaves and square, hollow stem of the mint family. It likes yards and other open, sunny areas where it can grow dense mats. The whole plant is edible either raw or cooked. It has a mild bitter/spinachy flavor. Tea made from dead nettle may induce sweating.
Use the leaves in salads but don't include the somewhat stringy stem.