Evidence of red dead-nettle has been found in Bronze Age deposits, and it seems likely that this plant was introduced to Britain with early agriculture (1). It is a hairy plant that branches from the base. The leaves have wavy to serrated edges and are attached to the stem with a stalk. The flowers are arranged in an inflorescence and are pinkish-purple in colour (2) with a hooded upper lip (4). Red dead-nettles are so-called as they do not sting (5).
Red dead-nettle is an annual plant (3) that flowers from April to November (1). The flowers are pollinated by bees (2). As with white dead-nettle, most country children know that it is possible to suck drops of nectar from the bases of the flowers of red dead-nettle (5).
This dead-nettle is common throughout much of the British Isles, to altitudes of 610 meters (2). It appears to have declined in Scotland, possibly as a result of a reduction in marginal arable land (3). Elsewhere, red dead-nettle is found in most of Europe, but is absent from many of the Mediterranean islands and is restricted to mountains in the more southerly areas (2).
Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.