Family: Lamiaceae
Common Name: Cat's Whisker

There are about 40 species of these evergreen shrubs and perennials native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia. Few are cultivated as ornamentals, although they have great potential. Some species are suitable for con­tainer growing.


O. stramineus, the cat's whisker or whisker plant, grows to about 1 m (3 ft) high. It has squarish stems and opposite, mid-green leaves, toothed on the margins. The summer flowers are the palest blue to white and are car­ried upright on the tips of the stems. The long stamens curving out from the flower provide the whiskered effect.


Outside the tropics, grow in a warm greenhouse or conservatory in pots of well drained, sandy, soil-based potting compost. They need ample water through the growing season, but should be kept drier in winter. Propagate from seed or cuttings taken from late spring through to early autumn. Provide bottom heat for both.


Zone 10 to tropical.

Ornithogalum      Osbeckia