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Leonurus cardiaca

Leonurus cardiaca L.

 

Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyLamiaceaeMint family
GenusLeonurusFrom Greek leo, “lion,” and oura, “tail”: resembling a lion’s tail
SpeciescardiacaFrom cardia- or cardio-, "heart," for its cardiac effects (from Stearn's Botanical Latin)

About plant names...

Motherwort, meaning simply “mother plant,” is named for its long use to treat a variety of medical problems for women. It is a native of central Asia, but it was brought to many other places and is now found worldwide. In some localities it is considered an invasive species.

Identification: Plants are about 24-39" (60-100 cm) high. They have unusual square stems. Pairs of leaves extend from the stem every inch or so, in alternating directions exactly at right angles to each other, looking almost unnaturally orderly. Leaves are dark green, and are 2-4" (5-10 cm) long. Younger leaves have three pointed tips, while older ones are further divided. Between each pair of leaves, a tuft of small pink-purple flowers appear directly on the stem, becoming more closely spaced near the top. The overall appearance is quite distinctive.

Medical: Traditionally motherwort served as a uterine tonic and a preventative for uterine infection in women. It contains a mild vasodilator, lowering blood pressure slightly and reducing heart rate. It has also been variously used as a sedative, to increase longevity, a “promoter” of menstruation, a blood thinner, a diuretic, a tonic for fevers, rheumatism, bronchitis, asthma, and even postpartum depression. Although motherwort does have a mild cardiac effect, none of these uses have been confirmed.[1]

Online References:

Leonurus cardiaca at Illinois Wildflowers

Leonurus cardiaca on www.microscopy-uk.org.uk

Leonurus cardiaca at Minnesota Wildflowers

Leonurus cardiaca on Missouriplants.com

Leonurus cardiaca on Wikimedia Commons

Leonurus cardiaca on Keir Morse's site, Keirosity.com

Leonurus cardiaca on Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Leonurus cardiaca on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

9/19/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

8/27/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

6/17/2010 · Mt. Lebanon St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

6/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

7/23/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 9" (16 × 23 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

6/18/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 22 cm)

1From susunweed.com, a commercial purveyor of herbal remedies

Leonurus cardiaca description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 30 Sep 2015.

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Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

8/18/2010 · J. Harry Rich Woods, off Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm) ID is uncertain

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

9/19/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

8/18/2010 · J. Harry Rich Woods, off Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

9/22/2013 · Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area, off route 119, Townsend, MA
≈ 7 × 10" (16 × 25 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

6/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

7/23/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

6/18/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 9" (16 × 23 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

9/19/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort, Lion’s Tail, Heartwort)

6/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Range:

About this map...