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Stachys byzantina

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, rocky places, wasteland.

Purple, 5 petals
The flowers are arranged in spikes, up to 9 inches in length. The flowers themselves are stalkless and tubular in shape with 2 lips. They measure about 1cm in size. 4 stamens.
The fruit is a nutlet.
A carpet-forming, perennial garden escape species with big, white, thick, woolly leaves. The basal leaves appear in rosettes and measure up to 10cm long. The soft, hairy leaves are oval to lance-shaped. Stem leaves are in opposite pairs. The erect stems are square in cross-section.
Other Names:
Bear's Ear, Bunnies' Ears, Cat's Ear, Lamb's Tongue, Lamb's Wool, Mouse Ear, Rabbit Ear, Woolly Hedgenettle, Woolly Woundwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Stachys byzantina, also known as Lamb's Ears, is a perennial herb in the mint family. It is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region and is known for its soft, fuzzy, silver-gray leaves that resemble lamb's ears. The plant produces spikes of small, pink or lavender flowers in the summer. It is commonly used as an ornamental plant in gardens, particularly in rock gardens, as a ground cover or in containers. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is also drought tolerant once established. In addition, it is deer and rabbit resistant.


Lamb's-ear, also known by its scientific name Stachys byzantina, is a plant that is native to the Middle East and Central Asia. It is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and is widely cultivated for its soft, velvety leaves. The leaves of lamb's-ear are the plant's most distinctive feature, as they are covered in fine, silvery hairs that give them a fuzzy, woolly appearance. In this blog, we will explore the characteristics and uses of this fascinating plant.


Lamb's-ear is a perennial plant that typically grows to be about 1-2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. It has broad, lance-shaped leaves that are approximately 4-6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. The leaves are densely covered in fine, silvery hairs, which give them a soft, velvety texture. The plant produces spikes of pink or purple flowers in the summer, although some cultivars may produce white or yellow flowers as well.


Lamb's-ear is a hardy plant that is relatively easy to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. The plant is drought-tolerant and does not require much watering once established. It is also resistant to most pests and diseases, making it an ideal choice for gardeners looking for low-maintenance plants.


Lamb's-ear is primarily grown for its foliage, which is often used in landscaping and as a groundcover. The soft, velvety texture of the leaves creates a unique contrast to other plants in a garden, and the silvery color of the foliage can help to brighten up shady areas. The plant is also commonly used in borders, rock gardens, and as an edging plant.

In addition to its ornamental uses, lamb's-ear has some medicinal properties as well. The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in the treatment of wounds and burns. The soft, woolly leaves of the plant have a cooling effect, which can help to reduce inflammation and soothe irritated skin. The plant also contains compounds that have antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Lamb's-ear is a fascinating plant with a unique appearance and a variety of uses. Its soft, velvety leaves make it a popular choice for landscaping and as a groundcover, while its medicinal properties have made it a valuable plant in traditional medicine.

More Information

Lamb's-ear is not only a visually appealing plant, but it also has cultural significance. In some cultures, the plant is used as a symbol of happiness and good luck. In parts of Turkey, it is believed that rubbing the leaves of the plant on one's forehead can help to alleviate headaches and other ailments.

In addition to its medicinal properties, lamb's-ear is also used for culinary purposes. The young leaves of the plant can be used in salads, while the older leaves can be used in teas and other beverages. The leaves of the plant have a slightly bitter taste and can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes.

Lamb's-ear is also a popular plant in the world of arts and crafts. The soft, velvety texture of the leaves makes them a popular material for creating handmade bookmarks, greeting cards, and other decorative items.

One interesting fact about lamb's-ear is that it is a magnet for bees and other pollinators. The plant's showy spikes of flowers provide an important source of nectar for these beneficial insects, making it a great choice for gardeners looking to attract pollinators to their yards.

Another fascinating aspect of lamb's-ear is its ability to absorb heavy metals from the soil. The plant has been shown to be effective in removing lead and other pollutants from contaminated soil, making it a potential tool for environmental remediation.

In some parts of the world, lamb's-ear has also been used as a natural dye. The leaves of the plant can be boiled to create a light green dye, while the flowers can be used to create shades of pink and purple.

Finally, it's worth noting that lamb's-ear is a relatively low-maintenance plant that requires very little care once established. While it prefers well-drained soil, it can tolerate a variety of soil types and can even thrive in poor or rocky soils. It is also resistant to drought and does not require regular watering, making it an ideal choice for gardeners looking to conserve water.

In conclusion, lamb's-ear is a fascinating plant with a variety of uses and benefits. Whether you're interested in its ornamental, medicinal, culinary, or environmental properties, this plant is definitely worth exploring. With its unique appearance and wide range of applications, lamb's-ear is a true gem of the botanical world.


Lamb's-ear filmed at Lytham St. Anne's, Lancashire on the 12th June 2023.


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