Family: Lamiaceae

Mainly from South Africa, this genus consists of 30 species of evergreen, flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants. Only one species seems widely cultivated, and it was popular in Victorian era gardens.


L. leonurus derives its common names, lion's ear or lion's tail, from the tawny colour of the hooded flowers which form a spiral up the stem. They also come in an orange-red colour and bloom for a long period, from autumn to early winter. This square-stemmed shrub grows to 2 m (6 ft). There is also a creamy white-flowered form.


In frost-prone climates, grow in a cool conservatory or greenhouse in pots of soil-based potting compost. Ensure maximum light. Prune hard, almost to soil level, in early spring. Outdoors, grow in a sunny, sheltered spot in well-drained soil and prune old flowered stems in spring. Propagate from semi-ripe cuttings in summer.


Zone 9 if relatively frost-free, otherwise zone 10.