Klip Dagga

Botanical Name : Leonotis nepetifolia
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Leonotis
Species: L. nepetifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names:Klip Dagga or Lion’s Ear, Lion’s Tail,  Christmas Candlestick, Candlestick.

Habitat : Lenotis nepetifolia is native to tropical Africa and southern India.  It can also be found growing abundantly in much of Latin America and the West Indies.

Description;
Klip Dagga is an annual plant that may reach 2-3 meters in height in good conditions. These plants grow straight up branching out as opposites from leaf nodes.
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It  has whorls of striking lipped flowers, that are most commonly orange, but can vary to red, white, and purple. It has very soft serrated leaves that can grow up to 4 inches wide.

Leaves: Leaves are triangle in shape and margins deeply serrate. Leaves may reach up to 20cm long and 15cm wide. In extreme heat and no rain, leaves will become sticky add appear to have something (resembling dried sugar water) on the surface. These are resin glands.

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Flowers:Inflorescences in hard spikes that may hurt the hand when brushed against (especially when dry). Flowers have 5 petals which are joined forming a 2 lipped tube flower. Flowers are orange in colour which remains when dried. Seeds develop in groups of 4 per flower. Seeds are ready to harvest when the “spike ball” is brown and dry. Klip Dagga is self-fertile, meaning they may produce viable seed with only one plant….

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Cultivation & propagation:
Seeds are easily germinated. Place in any potting mix and keep moist. Germination % and speed seems to be much faster when planted in warm temperatures in a well lit area. We suggest sowing them in a bright spot that stays above 10 C at all times. Germination should take about 1-2 weeks.

Leonotis nepetifolia is not a very sensitive plant and does well in many types of soils. One thing they benefti from is root space, they become root bounds very easily and appreciate large pots. Try to avoid soils that are very heavy and clay like, if your soil is clay like try adding some sand or peat to loosen up the soil a bit.

Medicinal Uses:
The sheets are used against infectious diseases by infusing them and using them in inhalers and vapor baths as a preventative.  It is also used as an emmenagogue, amenorhea, fever and skin diseases.  . The sheets séches are sometimes used in Africa as substitute of the marijuana.   Used similarly to Lion’s Tail (Leonotis leonurus) it just blooms earlier.

L. nepetifolia is known in Trinidad as shandilay and the leaves are brewed as a tea for fever, coughs, womb prolapse and malaria.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonotis_nepetifolia
http://www.kadasgarden.com/Pnepetifolia.html

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