The lion’s ear, leonotis leonurus.
ECOLOGIST Dr Colin Pope has written his description of the October highlights in Ventnor Botanic Garden.
Don’t miss the lion’s ear, the chaste tree, the mousehole tree, the giant umbrella sedge and the dramatic agave Americana towering in the Arid Garden.
Lion’s ear, or leonotis leonurus, is a South African plant, growing in the Medicinal Garden because of its traditional use to treat fevers, headaches, coughs and dysentery.
As you pass through the Fig Pergola into the South African Terrace, you will pass beneath a bush with long spikes of lavender flowers.
You will need to look back to see this flowering above your head. It is a Mediterranean shrub called the chaste tree or vitex agnus-castus.
The berries have a long history of medicinal use in Europe. Chaste tree was known to affect the reproductive systems of men and women.
It was even used in monasteries, where it had the common name, monk’s pepper.
In the South African Terrace, you will see a selection of shrubby scented-leaved pelargoniums, usually grown as summer bedding geraniums but hardy there in the garden.
There is also a new textile course at the botanic garden, using eucalyptus leaves from the garden’s many trees, next Saturday, October 22.
Anyone is welcome. For details and booking, call Carol Ann Eades on 07881677761.
The BBC came recently to film the Undercliff for Countryfile and spent some time with Chris Kidd at the Garden. Watch out for him in the programme on Sunday.