Lion’s tail is a beautiful drought-tolerant landscape plant from South Africa that sends up spikes of fuzzy orange or cream-colored flowers. In its native grassland habitat, Lion’s Tail attracts a variety of sunbirds, whose beaks have evolved the perfect shape to drink nectar from the curved flowers.
The flowers, seeds, leaves, and stems of Lion’s Tail all are used in South African herbal medicine to treat various conditions. This plant also has a reputation as a mild relaxant when smoked, leading to its other name, “Wild Dagga”. But like many medicinal plants, Lion’s Tail can be toxic if used incorrectly.
In California, this plant draws bees and butterflies to the garden, and flowers from the late spring until the fall. It makes an excellent border shrub, and can grow tall enough to form a privacy screen. Deer do not like it. Fertilize in the spring to encourage flowering
Growth Form: woody evergreen shrub with spikes of sage-like orange flowers, up to 6’ tall
Light: part sun-full sun
Water: drought tolerant once established
Hardiness: USDA zones 9-11