Friday, November 4, 2011

Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis leonurus . These shrubs are flowering profusely in my garden and the sunbirds love them. The corolla should be covered with orange petals but the amount of sunbirds who sip their nectar are numerous. The plants constantly regenerate petals which the sunbirds utilise constantly! The common name for Leonotis leonurus is Wild dagga* 

Leonotis = from the Greek leon meaning lion and otis meaning ear, alluding to the resemblance of the corolla to a lion's ear. leonurus = lion-coloured.
The wild dagga is a robust shrub which grows up to 2-3m tall and 1.5m wide. It is common and widespread throughout South Africa and grows amongst rocks in grassland.

Stems are velvety and woody at the base. The leaves are long, narrow, rough above, velvety below, with serrated edges. The wild dagga flowers profusely in autumn with its characteristic bright orange flowers carried in compact clusters in whorls along the flower stalk. Apricot and creamy white flowered forms are also found.

This is an excellent plant for attracting wildlife to your garden as the flowers profuse copious nectar which attracts birds, bees and butterflies.


Note * Dagga is a drug also known as cannabis, bungi, marijuana or weed. Wild dagga plant only resembles the illegal drug plant and is completely harmless. Wild dagga is indigenous to South Africa and I've since discovered in the bush here in the valley in East Africa. Of course, Stanley and I collected a few plants from the wilds and brought them into my garden. Sue, Sharda and the Guest House staff have all planted Leonotis leonurus in their gardens.

For more beautiful skies, click here


  1. It' s a lovely plant. I can see why the birds are attracted to it. Blessings :-)

  2. The way you have captured wild dagga against the bright sky is brilliant!

  3. What an unusual looking flower head.

  4. Great angle of an unusual plant. You are so good learning the names.

  5. HI Jo, I have seen this plant/flowers here at the Descanso Gardens. The color is orange, in three or more like this in a stem.

    Correction, please, I am from the Philippines.

    I have my own watermark, just using the regular text in Photoshop, and last night since I was posting for reflection, I added an action for a mirror image of it.

    Thanks again.

  6. This is a most unusual and colorful flower! I can see whey the birds (and probably the bees) are attracted to it!

  7. Whew! Jo, you had me worried there when you were talking about "weed" or "Mary Jane"! I'm relieved that it "only resembles the illegal drug plant and is completely harmless". The Wild Dagga plant made a beautiful picture there!

  8. So beautiful!
    Love the colors and the blue ski...
    Greetings from Holland,
    Anna :-))

  9. Wow, Jo, how did I miss a photo this eye-catching? It's an amazing plant and it must be such fun to watch the sunbirds sipping the nectar. What do the cats think?

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  10. It's amazing how wonderfully well these flowers succeed in attracting birds. I had one plant in my garden but it didn't get the sun it needed to thrive.

  11. Awesome macro. It was so interesting to learn about the plant. It is a beautiful one. No wonder the birds like it. genie


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