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Red Hemp-nettle

Galeopsis angustifolia

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, meadows, riverbanks, rocky places, seaside, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

Red, 2 petals
The flowers are 2-lipped. Flowers measure up to 2.5cm across. Green sepals.
The fruit is 4-parted nutlet.
An annual plant with narrow, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are toothed and grow together in opposite pairs up the stem. The stem is erect.
Other Names:
Narrowleaf Hemp-nettle, Narrow-leaved Hemp-nettle.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Galeopsis angustifolia, also known as the narrow-leaved hemp-nettle, is a species of perennial herb in the Lamiaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia. The plant can grow up to 60 centimeters tall and has small, yellow or pinkish-purple flowers. The leaves are green and have a rough texture, and are arranged alternately along the stem. They are characterized by being narrow and lanceolate shape, giving the plant its name. Galeopsis angustifolia is commonly found in damp, shady habitats such as meadows, woods, and along riverbanks. It is known for its medicinal properties and has been traditionally used to treat a wide range of ailments, including respiratory problems, skin conditions and fever. However, it is not a source of THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.


Red Hemp-nettle, also known by its scientific name Galeopsis angustifolia, is a common wildflower found in Europe and Asia. This herbaceous plant belongs to the family Lamiaceae, which is also known as the mint family. Red Hemp-nettle has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, and it is also a popular plant for attracting wildlife.

Description and Characteristics

Red Hemp-nettle is an annual or biennial plant that can grow up to 60 centimeters in height. It has a square stem and narrow leaves that are typically 2-5 centimeters long. The flowers are bright red or pink and bloom from June to September. They are tubular and grow in whorls around the stem, with each whorl consisting of four to eight flowers.

Habitat and Distribution

Red Hemp-nettle is native to Europe and Asia, and it can be found in a variety of habitats such as meadows, waste grounds, and woodland edges. It prefers moist, nutrient-rich soils and is often found growing in disturbed areas such as along roadsides and railway tracks. Red Hemp-nettle can be found throughout Europe, from Spain to Russia, and also in parts of Asia such as Turkey and Kazakhstan.


Red Hemp-nettle has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory and digestive problems, as well as to reduce fever and inflammation. The leaves and flowers of the plant can be used to make a tea, which is said to have a pleasant taste and a soothing effect on the body.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Red Hemp-nettle is also an important plant for attracting wildlife. The flowers are a rich source of nectar for bees and butterflies, while the seeds are a favorite food of birds such as finches and sparrows.

Conservation Status

Red Hemp-nettle is not considered to be a threatened species, but it is classified as a common weed in some areas. It can be invasive in some habitats, particularly those that have been disturbed by human activity. However, it is also an important plant for supporting biodiversity and should be protected in its native habitats.

Red Hemp-nettle is a fascinating plant with a long history of medicinal and cultural use. While it may be considered a weed in some areas, it is an important part of many natural ecosystems and can play a valuable role in supporting biodiversity. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties or simply appreciate its beauty, Red Hemp-nettle is a plant worth getting to know.

More Information

Red Hemp-nettle is an interesting plant for many reasons. Its scientific name, Galeopsis angustifolia, is derived from the Greek words galea, which means helmet, and opsis, which means resemblance. This is because the flowers of the plant resemble a helmet or a closed mouth.

Red Hemp-nettle has also been used in traditional folk medicine in many different cultures. In Germany, for example, it was used to treat coughs, asthma, and bronchitis, while in Russia it was used to treat skin disorders and digestive problems.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Red Hemp-nettle is also used in some parts of Europe as a culinary herb. The leaves and flowers can be used to add a minty flavor to salads, soups, and stews.

Red Hemp-nettle is also a popular plant for attracting beneficial insects to the garden. The flowers are a rich source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, while the leaves provide a habitat for predatory insects that can help control garden pests.

In some areas, Red Hemp-nettle is considered to be a weed and is often targeted for eradication. However, it is important to remember that this plant is an important part of many natural ecosystems and can play a valuable role in supporting biodiversity.

Another interesting aspect of Red Hemp-nettle is its relationship with fungi. This plant is known to form mycorrhizal associations with fungi, which are mutually beneficial relationships where the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates in exchange for nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

Red Hemp-nettle is also known for its ability to accumulate heavy metals such as zinc and cadmium in its tissues. This has led to its use in phytoremediation, which is a process of using plants to remove pollutants from the soil.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Red Hemp-nettle is used to treat conditions such as sore throat, cough, and asthma. It is also believed to have cooling and detoxifying properties.

Interestingly, Red Hemp-nettle has also been used in the production of beer. The plant was traditionally used as a substitute for hops, and it was believed to impart a bitter flavor to the beer.

In some parts of the world, Red Hemp-nettle is also used as a dye plant. The leaves and stems can be used to produce a yellow dye, while the flowers can produce a pink or red dye.

Overall, Red Hemp-nettle is a versatile and fascinating plant with a long history of use and a variety of interesting properties. Whether you are interested in its medicinal uses, ecological role, or cultural significance, this plant is definitely worth exploring further.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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