Henbit, Lamium amplexicaule

Life Cycle

Annual or winter annual.


Reproducing only by seed.


The stems are square, finely hairy, erect, 10-40cm high. Stems of henbit are much-branched near the base, the branches spreading and then becoming erect.


Leaves opposite (2 per node), lower ones long-stalked, broad, rounded to somewhat heart-shaped with coarsely lobed or irregularly toothed margins. The upper leaves are stalkless, broad-based, more or less clasping the stem.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers in clusters in axils of these broad, stalkless, upper leaves. The calyx is small, tubular, 5-ribbed, with 5 small, sharp but soft teeth. The corolla is pinkish or purplish, 12-18mm long, of 5 united petals, irregular, tubular, 2-lipped at the end, the upper lip arched and with a tuft of hair on the top but not lobed, lower lip 2-lobed. Flowers in spring and early summer and occasionally again in late summer and autumn.


Henbit occurs throughout southern Ontario in gardens, waste places and roadsides.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its annual, erect branching habit, its square stems, its opposite leaves, the lower ones long-stalked, the upper ones stalkless, broad, and clasping the stem, and its clusters of pinkish to purplish flowers in the axils of the broad upper leaves.

Figure #1.

Mature plant

Figure #2.

2 leaf seedling

Figure #3.

Henbit stem with 2 opposite leaves that clasp the stem giving a "whorl-like" appearance

Figure #4.

Henbit stem axils with clustered purple flowers

Figure #5.

Henbit flower