Lamiastrum galeobdolon (Yellow Archangel)
|Also known as:||Yellow Deadnettle, Yellow Henbit|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade, sun; moist to dry disturbed soil; woods, woodland edges, ravines, shaded fields|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in whorls of 4 to 10 at the top of the plant and at leaf axils in the upper half of the stem. Individual flowers are ¾ to 1 inch long, light lemon yellow, irregular with 2 lips at the end of a tube up to 3/8 inch long. The broad upper lip is rounded like a hood, densely covered in short hairs and fringed with longer hairs all around the edge. The lower lip has 3 spreading lobes all about the same size, the center lobe streaked with darker orange-yellow. Inside the tube are 2 short and 2 long stamens, the long ones arching inside the upper lip. The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is about as long as the floral tube, hairy, and has 5 sharply pointed triangular lobes.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are opposite, 1 to 3½ inches long, up to 2½ inches wide, hairy, coarsely toothed with rounded or pointed teeth, generally egg-shaped, straight across to heart-shaped at the base, blunt to pointed at the tip, on a hairy stalk up to about 1 inch long. The upper surface is either all green or variegated with silvery white spots; the lower surface is green or purple. Stems are erect, square, hairy especially along the angles and on the lower stem, green to purplish. Horizontal stems (stolons) are numerous, leafy and root at the nodes, forming dense mats; the stolons can grow 3 feet a year.
Yellow Archangel, also known as Lamium galeobdolon, is a garden escapee that is not widespread in Minnesota (yet), but has been described as invasive in other areas of the US. It is likely already more widespread than the distribution map indicates—every year we get one or two ID requests for this species, typically found in wooded areas in or near parks or residential areas but where it doesn't appear to be intentionally planted. We first encountered it in a degraded woods somewhere in the Twin Cities, then again at the edge of a woodline about a mile from where it was first collected in Duluth back in 2008.
There are no Lamium species native to North America, but there are several introduced species (not counting the numerous cultivars) available in the nursery trade, all of which may escape cultivation. Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) and Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) have already arrived here; both also have variegated leaves but have pinkish-purple flowers rather than yellow. Henbit leaves are smaller (1 inch long or less) and more rounded, and Spotted Deadnettle leaves have a silvery stripe just along the midrib where Yellow Archangel leaves are up to 3½ inches long and variably spotted across the whole surface.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Yellow Archangel plant
- Yellow Archangel plants
- a dense mat of Yellow Archangel
- Yellow Archangel with Creeping Charlie and Motherwort
- early growth in mid-spring
Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in St. Louis County and in the Twin Cities metro area. Fruit photo by Paul Busselen, Biology Department, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Campus Kortrijk, Belgium.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?