Hemisodon leonurus (L.) Raf.
Leonurus africanus Mill.
Leonurus grandiflorus Moench
Phlomis leonurus L.
Common Name: Lion's Ear
Flowering plant in Springside Nature Reserve in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal
Photograph by: JMK
Lion's ear is a semi-evergreen shrub growing from 2 - 5 metres tall[
A popular traditional medicinal herb in S. Africa, the leaves are gathered from the wild and sold in local markets. The plant is widely cultivated as an ornamental in tropical and subtropical gardens, and as a summer bedding plant in the temperate zone. It has also been grown as a hedge plant in Java[
Southern Africa - S. Africa.
Amongst rocks in grassland[
]. Locally common at forest margins, on rocky hillsides and river banks and in tall grassland[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of subtropical to tropical climates. Plants can tolerate some frost[
Very easily grown, plants are not particularly fussy about soil type, and are easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun[
]. Tolerates some light shade[
]. Plants like regular moisture, more especially during the growing season[
Young plants grow away rapidly and can reach a height of 1 - 1.8 metres in their first year from seed[
Plants can be pruned right back to ground level in their dormant season to encourage lots of new growth[
The flowers produce copious nectar which attracts birds, bees and butterflies[
The plant is widely used in traditional medicine in southern Africa. Research has shown the presence of a number of medically active compounds including an essential oil, diterpenoid labdane lactones, tannins, quinones, saponins, alkaloids and triterpene steroids[
Anti-nematodal activity has been demonstrated for both the aqueous and ethanol extracts of the plant[
An aqueous extract of the dried leaves has demonstrated anticonvulsant activity[
The leaves are cholagogue, digestive, emmenagogue, hallucinogenic and purgative[
]. They are used in the treatment of cough, cold, influenza, chest infections, diabetes, hypertension, eczema, epilepsy, delayed menstruation, intestinal worms, constipation, spider bites and scorpion stings and as an antidote for snakebite[
Applied externally, they are used for the relief of haemorrhoids, eczema, skin rashes and boils[
The leaves are smoked as a hallucinogen[
The plant has been grown as a hedge in some parts of the world[
Seed - no pre-treatment is necessary. Seed can be sown in situ, but is best in containers. Germination is usually fast and good. Seedlings grow away quickly and should be potted up as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant out into their permanent positions when 15cm tall.
Cuttings may be taken in spring from overwintered plants or from garden plants in summer for overwintering.
Division of large clumps[
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