Leonotis leonurus (L.) R.Br.

Wild Dagga / Lion's Ear (E), Wildedagga / Duiwelstabak (Afr), Imvovo (X),
Family : Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Leonotis Leonurus

Derivation of Name : Leonotis = from the Greek leon meaning lion and otis meaning ear, alluding to the resemblance of the corolla to a lion's ear. leonurus = lion-coloured.

The wild dagga is a robust shrub which grows up to 2-3m tall and 1.5m wide. It is common and widespread throughout South Africa and grows amongst rocks in grassland.

White formStems are velvety and woody at the base. The leaves are long, narrow, rough above, velvety below, with serrate edges. The wild dagga flowers profusely in autumn with its characteristic bright orange flowers carried in compact clusters in whorls along the flower stalk. Apricot and creamy white flowered forms are also found.

This is an excellent plant for attracting wildlife to your garden as the flowers profuse copious nectar which attracts birds, bees and butterflies. The wild dagga is fast growing and is frost hardy. It should be well watered in summer but does not require much water in the winter months. It is very easy to grow but will do best in well drained loamy soils with plenty of compost added. Plants should be cut right back at the end of winter. Propagate from seed, cuttings or by dividing up large clumps.

The wild dagga is widely used in traditional medicine to treat fevers, headaches, coughs, dysentery and many other conditions. It is also used as a remedy for snake bite and as a charm to keep snakes away.

SHARON TURNER
Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden
April 2001



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This page forms part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website www.plantzafrica.com.


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