Purple deadnettle is a common winter annual weed found in North Carolina waste areas. It is similar to henbit in appearance but its upper leaves have short petioles and the lower leaves have long petioles, whereas henbit lacks petioles. Purple deadnettle also has upper leaves that are distinctly red- or purple-tinged. Purple deadnettle and henbit both have distinctive four-sided (square) stems, and flower in early spring.
Winter annual broadleaf weeds germinate in the fall or winter and grow during any warm weather, which may occur in the winter, but otherwise remain somewhat dormant during the winter. They resume growth and produce seed in the spring and die as temperatures increase in late spring and early summer. They quickly invade thin turf areas especially where there is good soil moisture. Shade may also encourage growth. Many have a prostrate growth habit and are not affected by mowing. A dense, vigorous turf is the best way to reduce the encroachment of winter annual weeds. First, select adapted turfgrass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water to encourage dense growth.
Growth Season/Life Cycle
winter annual weed
prostrate, but erect at the tip
broadly egg-shaped, round; leaves often red- or purple-tinged
1/2 - 1 inch