100 seeds of Leonotis nepetifolia - KLIP Dagga - Wild Dagga
Leonotis nepetifolia, klip dagga or lion's ear, 100 seeds
Leonotis nepetifolia or KLIP Dagga - Wild Dagga is a shrub that belongs to the family of mint. It is a native plant to southern India, tropical Asia and Africa. Leonotis nepetifolia has a common name as Lion’s ear. It has two popular varieties; Leonotis nepetifolia var. africana (P.Beauv.) common in Indian Subcontinent and Africa and Leonotis nepetifolia var. nepetifolia also common in Africa. The plant does look terrific in the background and grows to a height of 3 meters. The plant grows in well-drained and moist areas with full sunlight.
Leonotis nepetifolia plant has stems that grow from a thick wood base. From the stems, the green flowers grow opposite to each other with numerous glandular trichrome on the leaf lamina. The leaves are triangular and smooth on touch. Flowers are bored in rounded spiny pair while circles the stems to make it look like the stems have grown from the centre of the cluster. New flowers continue to develop above the older ones as the stem grows above the formed cluster of flowers. This tubular flowers that peak out of the thorny heads are furry and orange, curved outwards and are 2cm long. The spiny heads always have ants that attract sugarbirds. The thorny heads protect the buds as the plant blooms. The lion’s ear plant can tolerate harsh dry weather conditions once it is established but is affected by freezing temperatures which kills it. Every part of this plant does have the mint smell.
The Lion’s ear plant is hermaphrodite. It has both the female and male parts and so can fertilise itself through cross-pollination or pollinations can be enabled by the insects, majorly bees. The flowers produced by the plant produce nectar that attracts insects like butterflies, bees and birds.
The Leonotis nepetifolia plant is popular in Africa for its traditional medicinal uses. The remedy from the plant is said to treat malaria, fever, headaches, snakebites and dysentery. The parts of the plants being used for medicinal purposes are mostly the leaves and petals. The leaves of this plant are a good browse for domestic animals too. The nectar produced by the flowers is fed on by sugarbirds as well as ants. The flowers of the plant are always used as a calming tea or get smoked. The plant, however, has some side effects depending on the dose being consumed. It has effects on the uterus and can suppress menstruation. For this reason, it should be taken on the directions of a professional.
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