Friday, March 2, 2012


Henbit is an often overlooked harbinger of spring.
It creeps between the dried blades of grass and fallen leaves
to reveal its intensely red-violet flowers well before
any other flowering plants emerge.

It makes its presence known in grass and field
with huge swaths of purple.
But up close, it's easy for the purple blossoms
to get lost in the green leaves. It blends in so well,
passersby barely give it notice.

In his 16th century herbal entitled "Niewe Herbal," 
H. Lyte  describes henbit as "the fourth kind of chickweed"
with many "round and hairy" stems.
It is a lamium, a member of the mint family.
Some older sources call it speedwell or dead-nettle.

While it is very prevalent on the East Coast,
 I have also seen henbit growing in many other regions.
Henbit is an edible weed, said to make
a good salad green when mixed with wild onion. 

All I can say to that is ...

while I don't doubt there's adventure
 in lunching on some henbit,
I'll admire its brilliant color
rather than to consume it.


Source: Oxford English Dictionary

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