"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Leaf of the Day: Lion's Tail

The last little "leaf" from the fridge, and one I just had to fit in before serious packing. This is the top knot of the Lion's Tail flower spike, leonotis nepetifolia. It's so attractive, in so many ways; the orange of the flowers against the blacky green foliage, the spiky little flowerlets and of course its endearing name. Some call it Lion's Ears because of the shapes of the actual flowers. To me this is more reminiscent of the smartly clipped tail of a Winter Park poodle.
To many its most attractive quality is its "herbal" application. It is a member of the mint family and this is the plant also known as Klip Dagga. To the Hottentot tribe it was a euphoric and ritual drug as it is said to resemble the effects of Cannabis. Bees, birds and butterflies love this plant, more I assume, for of its copious nectar producing capabilities rather than its relaxing and mind-altering properties. There is a patch near the apartment and I haven't seen any obviously intoxicated insects weaving their way across the car park yet.

It can be made into a tea, or applied to stings and burns, or smoked. Here of course there are heavy fines for growing cannabis, but Dagga seems to provide a legal alternative for some. I am curious however about
the large amount of shelf space that is dedicated to books about cannabis-growing in the bookshop across the road..

I have to go and pack my case now and face the dilemma of the travelling artist. Clothes or art materials? ..art materials or clothes? .. you know how it goes. The art materials always win but I have leant to travel lighter these days... but which paints? .. which colours ?? ...

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Lion's Tail