Lion’s ear is an annual and is found growing wildly in the Cauvery bank area. In Kannada it is known as Kaaduthumbe, and Granthika in Sanskrit. The botanical name is Leonotis nepetifolia belonging to the family of Mint Lamiaceae.
As we were trekking to Chunchi falls in November, I came across this plant. The flowering season of Lion’s ear is November to December. Strangely the plan t is a native of Africa.
The plant grows to a height of 8 to 9 feet. The leaves are opposite one another. The flowers encircle the stems at intervals on spiny clusters. The flowers are furry, Orange, tubular flowers and because of the color and their appearance it is known as Lion’s ear. The flowers of Lion’s ear plant are very similar to the Thumbe flower / Leucas aspera.
I have never seen any garden growing Lion’s ear, but it is good to plant to attract butterflies and humming birds.
Propagation of Lion’s ear is through seeds. Plant it under direct sunlight.
Handle the plant with care as they have spines.