Leonotis ocymifolia

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Botanical Name
Leonotis ocymifolia
Lamiaceae - The mint and salvia family
lee-oh-NO-tis oss-im-ih-FOH-lee-uh
Common Name(s)
English: Minaret Flower
Afrikaans: Klipdagga; Rooidagga
IsiXhosa: umfincane
IsiZulu: umcwili
Plant Group
  • Shrub A woody plant of relatively low height, having several stems arising from the base and lacking a single trunk; a bush.
Plant Size
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Deciduous to Semi-deciduous In warmer areas a deciduous plant may not lose its leaves during winter at all, or may lose its leaves for a very brief period, or may only lose part of its foliage.
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Frost: Hardy The plant can withstand freezing temperatures or frost without artificial protection.
  • Prune hard after flowering Fast growing shrubs that grow lanky within a season. Cut off branches and stems of these plants to a third of their original length. This will increase the yield of flowers, improve the plants shape and enhance the structural strength of main branches.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
  • Wind Tolerant Plants able to withstand the effect of strong winds.
Specific Information

Leonotis ocymifolia has the same growth habit as the well-known Leonotus leonuris. The leaves of this species however are toothed and almost rounded and the flowers larger and more robust. There is also a light variation, a dusty white shot with soft, sunset colours. The specimen in the picture had been in the way of the road-side mower and it had taken quite a beating.

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tubular flowers arranged in a circle around a central hub.

  • Autumn to Winter Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • orange
  • cream
Growth Rate
  • Very Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Border A strip of ground, at the edge of a driveway or path in which ornamental plants or shrubs are planted.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Pioneer for new gardens A very fast growing plant, able to withstand hardship, that can be used to populate land that has recently been cleared of natural vegetation. These plants pave the way for slower-growing species by adding nutrients to the soil and creating leaf litter.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Suitable for smaller gardens Such plants do not have invasive root systems, remain small or controllable and can often be grown in containers.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

widespread from Kenya in the north to Western Cape Province in the south in a variety of habitats

Planting Suggestions

Plant in well-drained soil with a little compost in full sun or a spot where it will receive shade for no more than a couple of hours a day. Mulch to retain moisture. To form a dense shrub and encourage flowering, tip off the growing points periodically during spring and early summer. Prune back hard at the end of winter. Leonotus ocymifolia will grow readily in shade but will become lank and flowering will be compromised.

Medicinal Uses

This species is used more or less interchangeably with Leonotus leonurus in some areas, namely for treating fevers, headaches, coughs, dysentery, snake bite, haemorrhoids and stomach ache, and as a purgative. Specific uses include the treatment of diabetes, hypertension, anaemia, eczema and other skin irritations.

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