Running and ‘Lions ears’

As much as I love running and it has always been a part of my life, I have come to realize that running also evolves and changes, it ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s great to have a goal to work towards and train for a race, and other times, most times, it’s just a part of my daily soul food, my Prozac.  At times I’m completely demotivated, and then it is a lesson in discipline and pushing through. Other times I can’t wait to get out the door! Running for me is a constant friend – no matter how I’m feeling.

The best runs are of course on the trail, preferably on a mountain somewhere with my backpack and phone for photographing new and interesting material. An escape from reality for a little while, a chance to inhale again. I remind myself often that I don’t have to do this, I get to do it.

This week while on the trail, it is the ‘Leonitis leonurus’ – lions tails or wild dagga as it’s commonly known, that has caught my attention. It is flourishing and beautiful after all the rain we have been blessed with. Flowering prolifically with it’s velvety orange petals and  providing a feast of nectar for sun birds and insects.

This is a common soft-woody shrub occurring throughout the country.  There are also  white, yellow, apricot and cream forms of it although these colours are not often seen. I have come across a cream clump flowering next to the side of the road on the way to Normandien. The seeds secrete a sticky oil- like substance that ants enjoy.  This causes them to carry the seeds off, insuring that they are spread far and wide for germination.

The early Khoikhoi would smoke the dry leaves and flowers – these are said to have narcotic properties and induce a sense of calm and euphoria – but it is not in any way related to the actual Cannabis plant.

The ‘Lions ear’ plant or ‘wild dagga’ is easy to grow in the garden as it is both drought and frost hardy. It is a lovely plant for attracting bird life particularly sun birds and is one of the host plants to the ‘Bush bronze’ butterfly – ‘Cacyreus lingeus’.bush bronze butterfly



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