enter image description hereI live in Eastern NC. I have a pink flowering plant (weed) all over my lawn. It grows and starts expending each plants width. The pink flowering plant eventually turns brown and turns into hard painful thorns that stick into shoes and pets feet and end up indoors. I've gone to gardening centers and had a lawn care company identify it as different things and they have spread weed killer to no avail. What is it and how can I get rid of it?

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  • Does it have fruit? What is the colour and size? Feb 25 at 18:43
  • 2
    For the sake of clarity, its probably that both Karol's and Jurp's answers are correct. Dead-nettle is part of the Lamiaceae - also known as the mint - family of plants.
    – davidgo
    Feb 26 at 5:10
  • It has no fruit. The plant is green, the flower pink. They are small but as it matures it gets bigger and bigger. Not tall but spread like flat octopus tentacles, up to 6-8 or more inches across. The photo was clear but I kept getting messages saying it's too big to post and I kept zooming it. The sharp needle like things come in summer and stick in feet or shoes and hurt like hell. Isn't Roundup dangerous to use? I've been out for 2 weeks ripping them out of the ground, but there are many hundreds.
    – Vinnie
    Feb 26 at 8:44
  • I've added further comment and I believe two more photos. Sorry, I'm not the most computer savvy person
    – Vinnie
    Feb 26 at 9:04
  • What kind of weed killer have you/they tried? Standard weedkiller for lawns, may not kill it, but Glysophate probably will. (yeah yeah, save the bees etc).
    – Neil
    Feb 26 at 11:59

4 Answers 4


Looks like henbit dead-nettle to me.

Update: I put in the wrong link above, to lamium purpureum also known as red or purple dead-nettle. I meant common/greater henbit, as I wrote, which is lamium amplexicaule and closely related. The distinguishing feature are the amplexicaul or "grapsing" leaves that surround the stem at their base; purple henbit has apical leaves or hanging on their own mini-stems. Your first close-up of the flower clearly shows the former. I found this page that nicely explains the differences at length (there are a few more).

  • Does not really look like that to me. Maybe Glechoma, maybe some other similar american Lamiaceae but does not look like Lamium purpureum too much. Feb 26 at 10:36
  • The picture does, but what the question describes about thorns doesn't match at all, so the questioner might be dealing with multiple weeds and conflating them. Feb 28 at 16:11
  • No, it's one plant all over my lawn. They grow in bunches on my lawn. And I know it's the same plant all over because when I pull it out by hand the thorns stick in my fingers
    – Vinnie
    Feb 29 at 0:42
  • The thorns were describing the dry seeds, not the stem. I'm not familiar with the seeds enough, but I wouldn't be surprised if nettle seeds dry into frustrating thorn-like shapes.
    – Karol
    Mar 1 at 1:33

Based on the obviously square stems on one shoot, plus the flowers (although blurry), you have a mint of some kind, which means it's spreading via the roots and any stem that touches the soil. RoundUp will kill it, but you will have to apply it more than once in order to kill all of the roots.


The other answers make sense based on the color of the weed in the picture (and looking at it again, it looks like there may be pictures of two separate plants? The first photo does indeed look like a dead nettle, but they don't produce thorns of any kind), but not the description of the spreading habits or the painful seeds. The question does not describe the shape of the "thorns", but it sounds like common stork's-bill or Erodium cicutarium to me, which produces seeds with a sharp point on one end and a curling tail on the other that helps them dig into the soil (and incidentally, anything else they might come in contact with, as they're slightly barbed).

Here are a couple of images from the above linked Wikipedia article:

Growth habit


And one from Calflora showing the rosette growth habit: Rosette growth

The leaves in the original question don't quite match, so it may be a close relative of this plant instead. As far as I am aware, several have similarly painful seeds, but I am not sure which specific ones might be found in NC.


Possibly ground-ivy, Latin name Glechoma hederacea. The Wikipedia page is here.

  • The leaves on this look different. The closest I've seen, which I think it is, is Karol's comment.
    – Vinnie
    Mar 4 at 4:28
  • @Vinnie - yes, I think you're right.
    – Peter4075
    Mar 17 at 9:29

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