Lambs Ear Facts

12 Fascinating Facts About Lambs Ear

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Introduction

The lamb’s ear plant (Stachys byzantina) is a fascinating perennial grown for its soft, fuzzy leaves that resemble a lamb’s ear. This unique plant has a long history and many intriguing facts behind it.

Lamb’s ear has been cultivated since at least the 16th century for its velvety foliage and drought tolerance. The silvery-gray leaves have a texture so soft that the plant gets its name from their resemblance to a lamb’s ear. Beyond being a delightful sensory experience, lamb’s ear has a variety of uses, from bandaging wounds to flavoring beer.

The following 12 facts highlight some of the most fascinating aspects of the lamb’s ear plant:

Lamb's Ear Flowering Plant in Close-up Photography

Facts About Lambs Ear

  1. Lamb’s ear is named for its ultra-soft, fuzzy leaves. The leaves feel like soft wool due to the dense coating of fine hairs on the surface. They have an almost silky texture, and inviting touch.
  2. The plant has some medicinal uses. Lamb’s ear leaves have antibacterial properties. Historically, the leaves were even used as bandages for wounds during medieval times.
  3. It’s edible and tasty! Lamb’s ear leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavor is similar to cucumber or bell pepper. The young leaves and shoots are the best for eating.
  4. Bees and butterflies love it. The flowers produce nectar that attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It serves as a great nectar source in butterfly and pollinator gardens.
  5. Lamb’s ear can be used to make tea. The leaves have a slight flavor reminiscent of sage and can be steeped fresh or dried to make an aromatic herbal tea.
  6. The plant has some historical medicinal uses. In medieval times, it was known as “woundwort” for its use in bandaging injuries. The fuzz was thought to help stop bleeding and prevent infections.
  7. Its roots can make a black dye. The roots contain tannins that were used historically to create a black dye for wool.
  8. Lamb’s ear beer is an actual thing! The plant has been used to flavor fermented beverages. Some microbreweries have experimented with lamb’s ear leaves as an ingredient.
  9. It’s related to mint. Lamb’s ear is in the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes other herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and lavender.
  10. A lamb’s ear can help other plants. When planted alongside vegetables and flowers, a lamb’s ear can shelter more delicate plants. Its fuzzy leaves protect from frost and reflect sunlight from sensitive plants.
  11. The plant has some unusual medicinal folklore. Lamb’s ear was believed to help heal dog bites, treat diarrhea and dysentery, and scare away flies!
  12. It’s deer and rabbit resistant. Deer and rabbits tend to leave lamb’s ear alone thanks to the fuzzy leaves that they find unappealing. This makes lamb’s ear ideal for gardens prone to rabbit invasions.

Conclusion

Beyond being a unique and actually pleasing plant, lamb’s ear has some fascinating history behind it. This distinctive perennial has many practical uses, from its edible leaves to its medicinal roots. Next time you encounter the plant with its soft wooly leaves, remember there is more than meets the eye with lamb’s ear!


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