Floral Friday : Lion’s Tail

Leonotis leonurus, also known as lion’s tail and wild dagga, is a plant species in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. The plant is a broadleaf evergreen large shrub native to South Africa and southern Africa, where it is very common. It is known for its medicinal and mild psychoactive properties. The main psychoactive component of Leonotis leonurus is leonurine.IMG_6078Description

The shrub grows 3 to 6 ft (1 to 2 m) tall by 1.5 to 3.5 feet (0.46 to 1.07 m) wide. The medium-dark green 2–4 inches (5.1–10.2 cm) long leaves are aromatic when crushed. The plant has tubular orange flowers in tiered whorls, typical to the mint family, that encircle the square stems. They rise above the foliage mass during the summer season, with flowering continuing into winter in warmer climates.

Variation in flower color

A white variety (known colloquially as ‘Alba’), as well as a yellow variety also exist.

IMG_6080Ecology

In its native habitats Leonotis leonurus attracts nectivorous birds (mainly sunbirds), as well as various insects such as butterflies. The flowers’ mainly orange to orange-red colour and tubular shape are indicative of its co-evolution with African sunbirds, which have curved bills suited to feeding from tubular flowers.IMG_6079Cultivation

Leonotis leonurus is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its copious orange blossom spikes and accent or screening qualities for use in gardens and parks. It is a moderate drought tolerant plant, and a nectar source for birds and butterflies in landscape settings.

Lion’s tail can especially be found in other subtropical and Mediterranean climate regions beyond South Africa such as California, Hawaii, and Australia where it has naturalized in areas. In cooler climates it is used as an annual and winter conservatory plant. Wikipedia

IMG_6076

FLORAL FRIDAY FOTOS