Wild Flowers of the Eastern Cape:no 1-Leonotis Leonurus (Wild Dagga)
Wild Dagga or Lion's Tail
The Eastern Cape in South Africa enjoys a wide variety of vegetation biomes. An example is that the Addo Elephant Park covering 164 000 ha. enjoys five of the seven biomes found in South Africa.
It also can be considered a transition zone in that it lies in between the winter rainfall area of the Western Cape and the summer rainfall area further east and north. Because of these factors it enjoys a large variation of floral species and the photos with the article show just a few.
One of the very common shrubs is the Wild Dagga or Lion’s Tail that produces orange, white or yellow flowers and is found in many areas. It is somewhat drought resistant and so can survive in the drier regions. As a garden shrub it is excellent in attracting birds and butterflies. Sunbirds particularly enjoy feeding in its tubular flowers.
For many years it has been used in traditional medicine for a large variety of conditions including flu, fever, headaches, skin rashes and boils. It has also been used for insect bites including scorpion stings and snake bites.
Tests on animals have indicated a negative effect on a variety of organs. Like the banned substance Dagga it is said to have the same effects when the leaves are dried and smoked, but to a lesser degree. It is however not a banned substance.
The leaves can also be used to produce a mint tea.