Henbit deadnettle

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is not much of a flower.


It grows wild most everywhere it can in the Southeast. It does not have a floral scent, although it smells pleasant in a green sort of way if you push a bunch up to your nose. It is edible in a pinch, and it supplies bees for honey-gathering, but its main use is to turn untended greenspace a purplish color in the early spring.

This past week, I visited my home in Mississippi again, where, for two glorious days, I did not need a jacket. I became obsessed with gathering henbit in the great, wet, squelchy fields, a new bouquet each day. For a mild form of therapy, I recommend it. No one is going to run out of henbit.

Henbit is an unwatched hope. Nobody waits for the henbit, as they do for the crocus or daffodil. Yet each year it arrives without fail or fanfare. I never knew I missed it dearly, and aspired to be surrounded by as much.