I found this growing behind my house, but I'm not sure what it is. It looks a lot like mint; however, it isn't minty smelling but more sweet smelling. Is it dangerous?Plant

  • Where do you live? What do you mean for "dangerous"? (to touch? to eat? for your cats?). Do it have flowers? could you add a photo of stem/flowers (so from a lower angle)? – Giacomo Catenazzi Apr 30 '18 at 8:14
  • Please add some scale. It matters the size of these leaves and stems to ID. Henbit, Nettles, Catnip...they look similar, almost identical. Except for the size. Have you even seen flowers? What color? – stormy May 1 '18 at 5:59

I can't comment on the 'sweet smelling' aspect, but this looks remarkably like stinging nettle (Urticaria dioica) https://northedinburghgrows.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/nettles-a-very-useful-plant/. It's easy to tell if that's what it is, either by just watching how they develop over time, or touching the leaves, if you don't mind nettle rash afterwards. If you do touch it and it stings, leave the stinging area alone - you will be tempted to rub it or scratch it, but if you resist that temptation, the stinging wears off within 10 minutes, whereas if you touch or rub the area, it will continue to sting on and off for some hours. Apart from discomfort from nettle stings, the plant is not dangerous at all, in fact it's edible.

Here's another link describing culinary and garden uses for nettles https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/10-uses-for-nettles/

  • I agree that it looks like a stinging nettle, so be careful with this plant. The sting is very painful. – benn Apr 30 '18 at 9:59
  • As long as one doesn't touch the underside of the leaves, this plant is not dangerous at all. Excellent to eat raw, believe it or not, if you take a leaf by the top and squish it and then wad it up you can eat it raw. Honest. Incredible for a spinach when steamed. But I am confused by the scale...I was relying on that straw... – stormy Apr 30 '18 at 11:23
  • There is no way nettles could ever be some kind of a fertilizer. Please explain why they would make that statement? – stormy Apr 30 '18 at 11:26
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    @stormy, can you please keep it polite. Remarks like "good grief", "sigh", and "worthless" are not very polite in discussions, at least not where I come from. Like I said you are entitled to your own opinion, but please don't become nasty if not everyone shares your opinion. Thank you. – benn May 1 '18 at 8:33
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    @stormy no need to get your knickers in a twist, really - people have been using both comfrey and nettle as liquid manures for over a hundred years here, so its not a 'fad', which is a temporary,, fashionable and passing passion of sorts. And if people want to use nettles in this way, there's no harm, its not like its causing problems to you or the planet. So chill - each to his own, no need to be offensive,the question merely asked for an ID after all. And I'd add, the leaves in the photo could not be mistaken for your so called 'henbit' ... – Bamboo May 1 '18 at 10:28

Although I don't really think what you have is catnip (due to the gleam on the leaves), because it looks so similar, I thought I'd post an answer for it, in case it helps.

Catnip usually has leaves with somewhat smoother edges, but sometimes ours gets edges more like your plant's (except they're rounded and yours look sharp).

If the stems aren't square, you probably don't have catnip. Although I don't think the smell is sweeter than mint, it's possible that you might. It definitely has a smell.

Here's a picture I just took of some of ours. Our catnip usually has had flatter leaves with a more triangular shape, but a lot more of it looks like this, lately. It's furrier than the plant in your picture (when it's grown with more sun catnip looks even furrier), which accounts for the less shiny look.

enter image description here

Here's a shot of the stem of a different catnip plant in our yard (if your stem is rounded, it's probably not catnip):

enter image description here

Lemon balm also looks similar.

Both catnip and lemon balm are edible, unless you're allergic.

If your plant doesn't have squarish or blocky stems, it's probably not lemon balm, either. Both catnip and lemon balm are in the mint family, and things in the mint family tend to have blocky stems.

I do agree with others that it looks like a nettle, though, and I think a nettle is definitely the more likely answer. I don't have experience growing nettles.


It does look exactly like my mint.It grows and spreads like crazy this time of year. It is like a weed and is happy in a variety of lighting conditions. If you crush the leaf it will have a strong mint smell. If it does not you probably have something else.


I am guessing HENBIT, Purple Dead Nettle. Check out these pictures... purple dead or ground nettle

  • "sweet smelling" should rule out the Lamium purpureum (according my nose, but some people could think different). In any case, I think we are not so far on identification. – Giacomo Catenazzi Apr 30 '18 at 8:12
  • grins, I agree... – stormy Apr 30 '18 at 11:18

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