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).
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