Until last year, I never gave much thought to the “purple stuff” that claims the yard each spring. A few hours experimenting with my camera’s macro function converted indifference to fascination. I had never noticed the delicate, fringed mouths and tapering, graceful throats. I had never noticed the subtle differences that mean there are two distinct species of these purple beauties.
Once again, the urge to name what I photograph sent me into research mode. Aided by a 1968 edition of Peterson’s Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America and Virginia Tech’s online Weed Identification Guide, I discovered that the purple blooms are two related species of the mint family: henbit and purple dead-nettle.
It still seems ironic that I found them listed as both wildflowers and weeds.
I believe the first two photos are henbit, and the last is purple dead-nettle. Please comment with correction and/or confirmation!