This little plant stands along the trail like a tiny, tiered pagoda. The upper leaves are a deep purple, but despite its name, purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum, also known as henbit) doesn’t look at all dead.
The square stem and the shape of its leaves and flowers give it away as a member of the mint family. Purple deadnettle is native to Europe and Asia but has naturalized in California and many parts of the US. The young leaves are edible and used in salads and stir-fries.