DALS WILDLIFE SITE { WILDLIFE OF NORTHERN ENGLAND}

WILDLIFE OF NORTHERN ENGLAND

The White dead nettle--Lamium album.

The white dead nettle belongs to the family Lamiaceae { Mint family} in the order of plants known as Lamiales, they are placed in the genus Laminum. They are not related in any way to the stinging nettle. 

Lamium is a genus of 40-50 species. they are all herbaceous plants native to Europe, Asia and north Africa, however, many have become naturalized introductions across the temperate world. They are either of annual or perennial rootstock. many species produce a new plant by means of creeping rootstock others by seed germination.

The common name refers to a superficial resemblance of the foliage to that of the stinging nettle. many species of this family are utilized in gardens, however, they can be invasive and require plenty of room and regular maintenance to keep them under control, that said many have showy attractive blooms worthy of admiration. 

Lamium album

Photo by Dal

Description of the white dead nettle

Although superficially similar to the stinging nettle in the period before flowering commences it is very different when the white flowers occur which are arranged in whorls at the upper half of the stem the individual flowers are between 1.5 and 2.5  cm long. The flowers are visited by many insects especially bumble bees. For early flying bumblebees they are an important source of nectar.

The stems are square typical of the mint family and can attain the height of between 50-100 cm

20-39 inches high   but usually around 30 cm {12 inches}. The nettle like foliage is 3-8 cm {1.2-3.1 inches} long and 2-5 cm { 0.97-1.97 inches} broad, they are triangular in outline rounded at the base, they are soft and hairy, toothed at the margins and borne on stalks up to 5 cm {2 inches } long.

Bombus lucorum feeding on White dead nettle

Courtesy of williamgeorgefraser.  CC BY-SA 3.0 License.

Medicinal uses.

Lamium album leaves can be utilized in salads eaten raw or cooked as a potherb. They can also  be used to form a tea by infusion. It is a pleasant drink. They may also be dried for future use. They are regarded as a good source of Vitamin A.

 

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