Native Yellow Archangel without variegation

The British native Yellow Archangel, Lamium galeobdolon, does not have variegated leaves or dominant tendencies
© Karen Andrews

If you search online for Yellow Archangel, you are likely to find that your results are as dominated by the invasive, variegated subspecies Lamium galeobdolon ssp. argentatum. The native plant is an ancient woodland indicator. Although seemingly rarer than the invasive subspecies, I am able to find the native species in local woodlands, and occasionally in shady hedgerows. My observations have shown that it does not appear to possess the dominant and thuggish tendencies of the pervasive garden escape. By contrast, it is has a more shy, retiring habit blending into surrounding vegetation and can easily be missed. Isn’t it about time that we drew attention to the more angelic species?

Plant Family

Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Accepted Name: Lamium galeobdolon

Synonym: Lamiastrum galeobdolon (still in frequent use by botanists and wildflower guides)


  • Characteristic square stem of Lamiaceae
  • Characteristic pairs of opposite leaves of Lamiaceae
  • Whorls of flowers
Close-up of native Yellow Archangel, Lamium galeobdolon, pubescent (hairy) flowers and buds in spring sunshine
© Karen Andrews


Woods, woodland edges and shady side of hedgerows. Ancient woodland indicator in the South West of England (if found in association with other ancient woodland species). I have found it intermingled with other species in hedgerows, hiding under and obscured by other taller species. Be wary as its presence can be hidden by Stinging Nettles, Urtica dioica.

Spikes of non-dominant, native Yellow Archangel, Lamium galeobdolon, appear amid other hedgerow vegetation.
© Karen Andrews


Most wildflower guides refer to Yellow Archangel, Lamium galeobdolon, as an erect species. I have found it growing laterally on a number of occasions, towards the light from a shady position.

Angel v. Devil

Easter is a good time to draw a comparison between the devilish invasive and the native Yellow Archangel. The Coronavirus shutdown means that many Britons are gardening to pass the time. Garden waste collections have been suspended locally. Recycling centres have closed to protect staff and help maintain social distancing. Please keep or compost garden waste in the interim. Please do not be tempted to fly tip garden waste into local woodlands. Invasive garden escapes can take over the woodland floor and outcompete our native species. They regenerate from the tiniest scrap. The variegated Yellow Archangel, Lamium galeobdolon ssp. argentatum, is often recommended to gardeners as a ground cover or woodland floor plant. It is a devil if released into the wild.

© Karen Andrews

References and Further Reading

Copyright Note

Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.

© Karen Andrews 2018 onwards. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Andrews and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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