Page author: David Giblin
Leonurus cardiaca
motherwort, Lion's tail

Distribution: Scattered location in Washington; found occasionally in North America.

Habitat: Disturbed ground, often in association with cities and towns.

Flowers: June-September

Origin: Introduced from Eurasia

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Fibrous-rooted perennial herbs from a branched, woody base, the square, erect, clustered stems 4-15 dm. tall, with retrorse hairs on the angles.


Leaves opposite, all cauline, the lower soon deciduous, the principle leaves somewhat above the base, the blades palmately veined and cleft and again coarsely toothed, 5-10 cm. long and wide, loosely short-hairy beneath, the petiole equaling the blade; leaves reduced upward, narrower, less cleft, shorter petioles, the uppermost entire.


Flowers verticillate in the axils of reduced leaves; calyx tube firm, 5-angled, 3-4 mm. long, the 5 spine-tipped, narrow lobes equaling the tube, the 2 lower ones deflexed; corolla two-lipped, 1 cm. long, pale pink, the upper lip white-woolly, hood-like, enclosing the 4 equal stamens; the lower lip spreading, 3-lobed, the center lobe obcordate, the lateral lobes oblong; style 2-parted; ovary 2-celled, superior.


Fruit of 4, 3-sided nutlets.

Accepted Name:
Leonurus cardiaca L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 2: 584. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Leonurus cardiaca L. ssp. cardiaca [Stace 1997]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Leonurus cardiaca in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Leonurus cardiaca checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Leonurus cardiaca atlas page.

CalPhotos: Leonurus cardiaca photos.

USDA Plants: Leonurus cardiaca information.

5 photographs:
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