Klip dagga

Category: Medicines - plant based



Introduction and description


Leonotis nepetifolia, also known as klip dagga, Christmas candlestick, or lion's ear, is a species of plant in the genus Leonotis and the family Lamiaceae (mint). Varieties include

  • Leonotis nepetifolia var. africana (P.Beauv.) J.K.Morton - Indian Subcontinent, much of Africa
  • Leonotis nepetifolia var. nepetifolia - much of Africa


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



It grows to a height of 3 metres and 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.

Leonotis nepetifolia (klip dagga) is related to L. leonurus (wild dagga or lion's tail.) The most noticeable difference between the two is the leaf shape. L. nepetifolia leaves are cordate with serrated edges, except the top pair which are lanceolate with serrated edges. The leaves are all lanceolate with serrated edges on L. leonurus.

Traditional medicine

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

Related observations