Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Motherwort, Cow Wort, Lion's Ear, Lion's Tail
Leonurus cardiaca

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Leonurus (lee-on-or-uss) (Info)
Species: cardiaca (kar-dee-AH-kuh) (Info)

25 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Domehomedee On Jul 10, 2013, Domehomedee from Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This was the first year for me planting motherwort. It bloomed earlier than the other flowers I seeded. The plant itself was nothing to get excited about, insignificant flowers on a tall stalk. But of all the flowers I planted, the bees loved this best.
Unfortunately it reseeds too well. I don't mind a little weeding but this has managed to come up in mass 20 feet away from where it was originally planted. We just got our first rain, I hope it isn't going to be an ongoing problem plant. I'm just glad my butterfly garden is away from my front yard.

Negative plant_it On May 19, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Though I think the leaves of this plant are beautiful, motherwort is a non-native, invasive from central Asia, introduced to the U.S. from Europe for it's medicinal purposes. It has no real benefit to wildlife that I can find and it displaces native plants.

Positive herbspirit On Jan 27, 2010, herbspirit from Southborough, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Very useful plant if you know what to do with it. Used by native populations as a medicinal plant.
Plant in part shade to keep from getting invasive.

Positive digging_dirt On Feb 12, 2009, digging_dirt from comebychance, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

i think this plant adds a very attractive texture to my garden,is
not for everyone but i like it.and if you dont want more dead head.

Positive donicaben On Jun 29, 2008, donicaben from Ogdensburg, NY wrote:

Motherwort is used to calm nerves, ease a woman's transition through menopause and has also been known to lower cholesterol.

While making a tea out of it is just AWFUL (very bitter - tastes like dandelion sap) making a tincture out of it will make ingestion much easier (smaller portions needed).

I am SO glad to have found this growing wild at the edge of my property. :-)

Negative CaptMicha On Jun 20, 2006, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I don't really see much use for this plant. I could take it or leave it.

It's not ugly but it's not impressive in any way. You can't use it for anything really but the bees adore it.

Changed to negative. I keep finding this plant every where. It's very invasive.

Neutral Gabrielle On Jan 27, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Motherwort is used for treating conjunctivitis in rabbits. I am not sure of the proper way to use it, but they seem quite content to mow mine down with their teeth! My information says that it is hardy in zones 3-8.

Negative JefeQuicktech On Oct 2, 2005, JefeQuicktech from Moorhead, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

A classic example of one person's weed being another's landscape plant. This is a nice filler plant for a large landscape. I wouldn't dedicate a spot for it in a small landscape. Not real impressive in any way except being a great bee plant. Bees just love it.

Update as of 9/06/2006:
Change of heart. Yes this is a WEED. It can be very very invasive. If you plant one, I strongly suggest cutting off the spent blooms so it doesn't self-seed.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Arroyo Grande, California
Sebastopol, California
Rockford, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Valparaiso, Indiana
Slaughter, Louisiana
Brookeville, Maryland
Southborough, Massachusetts
Erie, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Moorhead, Minnesota
Plainfield, New Jersey
Mount Upton, New York
Salem, Oregon
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Concrete, Washington
Franklin, West Virginia
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Racine, Wisconsin

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