Leonotis Nepetifolia - Lion's ear

This strange flower is called Leonotis Nepetifolia, or Lion’s ear. This is another old photo I stumbled on and “revived.” These flowers are some of the strangest I’ve ever seen and seem to grow very well here in Southern California, though they are certainly not native. Apparently they are originally from tropical Africa and southern India. According to multiple sources, the leaves have been used in traditional medicine, by brewing into a tea, to treat fever, coughs, even malaria.

But, according to Tropilab, the plant is a mild narcotic. “The dried foliage (herb) of Leonotis (Wild Dagga and Klip Dagga) has psychoactive properties and is used as a legal substitute for marijuana (ganja, cannabis, hemp). They are mildly narcotic and have many medicinal properties. Smoking this dried herb gives an euphoric-like effect and exuberance due to one of the active components, the mildly psychoactive alkaloid leonurine (4-guanidino-n-butyl syringate) and other diterpenes (leosibiricine, leosiberine, isoleosiberine). The flowers are the most potent part and can also be smoked or used as a calming tea. This herb does not contain any controlled substances.” 

I was wondering why my neighbors grow so much of it. 🙂

If there are multiple photos in this post, EXIF data is for the featured photo only:

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.3
  • Camera: DMC-TZ5
  • Taken: 14 June, 2008
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 4.7mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s

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