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Products > Leonotis leonurus
 
Leonotis leonurus - Lion's Tail
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Height: 4-8 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Leonotis leonurus (Lion's Tail) - An erect evergreen shrub to 4 to 6 or more feet tall by nearly as wide with a branching woody base that produces many erect herbaceous stems bearing dark green 4 to 6 inch long narrow lanceolate leaves with softly serrated margins. From late spring through fall appear the fuzzy orange curved tubular flowers in whorls at spaced intervals around the top half of the long upright stems with new buds produced near the branch tips. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. This plant is drought tolerant but can tolerate and thrive with regular irrigation and it can survive temperatures down to 20 degrees F and if it freezes back in the winter, it will often resprout with new growth from hardened wood - for this reason it is often treated as a perennial and has been known to grow in the south of England. In cold location plants should be mulched well to protect the wood crown. It responds well to pruning, remaining more dense and smaller and should be pruned yearly after flowering. It is useful as a screening plant but can occasionally reseed in the garden. The flowers are good in arrangements (stem bottom should be burned) and it is known to attract birds, bees and butterflies to the garden. Though southern California gardeners have long called this plant Lion's Tail it is also known by some as Lion's Ear, Lion's Claw and Minaret Flower. The name Lion's Ear is a translation of the name given to the genus from the Greek words 'leon' meaning "lion" and 'otis' meaning "ear" in reference to the resemblance of the flower to a lion's ear. The specific epithet leonurus means "lion colored". It is also known as Wild Dagga (a name also used for the unrelated Cannabis sativa) because of its traditional medical uses in South Africa, where it is found growing naturally among rocks in the grasslands of the Cape district and the Transvaal. We have grown and sold this great garden plant since 1988.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Leonotis leonurus.