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Common Name : Lions Ear     -       Scientific Name : Leonotis nepetifolia (Lamiaceae) Labiatae)       -       Other Name : Christmas Candlestick (E), Maha-yakwanassa (S)
Mara Wila
Kaali Villu

This is an introduced species to Sri Lanka. Lions Ear is native to tropical and sub-tropical Africa but is now widespread all over the tropical regions of the world. In Australia and Hawaii this is listed as an invasive species.

The leaves of this species are brewed as a tea and given to treat fever, cough, womb prolapse and Malaria

Since being introduced this species is now found throughout the dry lowlands and occasionally in the mid hills. It is said that Hummingbirds find these flowers irresistible and would visit them frequently. 

I have observed large colonies of these plants in the Mannar Island in newly cleared lands and birds such as the Purple Sunbirds, many species of butterflies and insects frequently visiting these flowers to feed on nectar.

In Wilpattu I have seen this species flowering in January and February at Kaali Villu and at Mara Wila.