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Leonotis nepetifolia

Lamiaceae

Lion’s ear (Leonotis nepetifolia) is also known as klip dagga, devil’s pincushion, and Christmas candlestick.is a non-native herbaceous annual in the Lamiaceae or mint family. It is native to tropical Africa and southern India. Typical mint with distinct square stems and opposite leaves that are simple and with pinnate major veins. Blade is ovate with a truncate base and margins are distinctly crenate. Inflorescences are capitate heads (ball shaped) in the upper portion of the stem. Flowers are typical mint irregular or zygomorphic with a spiny calyx and orange corolla. Plants have a unique topiary appearance with the seed heads that persist thru the winter. Twas given a few seeds by Sonnie Milton (shout out to her) a few years ago and it continues to come up in several spots on Allen Acres. The caterpillars of Omnivorous Platynota Moth (Platynota rostrana) are reported to eat this plant. I have seen ruby throated hummingbirds taking nectar from the flowers late in their season. WE can share seeds with you Reports of this plant being medicinal can be found. Another species Lenotis leonurus is also called lion’s ear plus lion’s tail and wild dagga and can be grown in the area but no records of it escaping while Leonotis nepetifolia is reported from 21 parishes across the state. A third species Leonurus sibiricus (Siberian motherwort or honeyweed) with dissected leaves and purple flowers is an important medicinal plant and reported from 22 parishes. All three of these species may be more widely distributed but there just aren’t any plant collectors out there anymore. I have heard that some plant sites are accepting photos for documentation so it will just be a matter of matching the new plant apps with the traditional plant distribution sites.