Lamb’s Ear: Putting a Useful Plant To The Test

Lamb’s Ear Overview

Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) is one of my new favorite plants.  Known for its light gray-green color and ultra fuzzy leaves, this low growing border plant is much more than just a pretty face.  It is useful, edible, kid friendly, hardy, drought tolerant, and attracts bees like nobody’s business.

Intrigued?  So was I.  I tried it out for myself,  here are my findings.

Putting It To The Test

Examine the fuzzy leaves and flower stalks of lamb’s ear and , and you’ll start to get to ideas about  how this plant might be useful in many ways.  I spent some time testing its various traditional uses for myself, and this is what I found:

  • lambs ear with honey bee Bee Friendly Flowers: I was sold on lamb’s ear the moment I witnessed the crowd of bees busily foraging the flower stalks. I’m always on the lookout for pollinator-friendly plants, and this one was a superstar.  The flowers themselves are a visual so-so in my opinion, many folks even trim away the flower stalks to enhance the unique foliage.  But in my garden, the flowers are too good for bees to pass up.  They will definitely get to stay.
  • Cleaning Pads:  Lorie H. commented on our Facebook page ” I always use it to clean out my chicken’s water container, it’s soft but does a great job of scrubbing the green and dirt out.”  Loving that concept, I tried using the leaves to clean some dinner dishes.  It worked like a charm.  The fuzzy texture of the leaves was perfect for wiping away leftover food.  A tip: larger leaves would be easier to work with, and scrubbing dried or baked on messes won’t work.  The leaves are wipers, not scrubbers.
  • Health Care: Rolled up leaves are perfect comfy and fragrant spacers for your toes if your giving yourself a pedicure.
  • Absorbant : leaves that had been dried overnight soaked up spills on the counter top rather well.  I will definitely be exploring this more as a possible alternative to paper towels.
  • lambs ear bandageBandages: I had a thorn in my toe.  I dressed it with a poultice and used lamb’s ear to keep the poultice in place.  It was an excellent bandage, and I wore it comfortably for hours.  Plus, it seemed to let the wound breathe well, it did the job without making the wound a soggy mess.
  • Pot Pourri:  A few few picked leaves brought into the house gave off a lovely light pineapple-y scent.  A little went a long way.
  • lambs ear toilet paperToilet Paper: Ahem.  Yes, I tried it.  It worked.  ‘Nuff said.  Except for this:  have a disposal plan in place if you’re going to try it too.  Flushing could clog your plumbing.  If you are thinking of using it for emergency purposes, think about how you’ll deal with the waste ahead of time.  Burying or burning would probably be the way I’d go in an emergency situation.
  • lambs ear bowCrafts and flower arrangements:  A lamb’s ear bow is a fun and easy craft.  I made this one in minutes, and would use this as gifts for friends and accents to flower arrangements.  The instructions I used are here.  Expand this concept to all manner of crafting, and you now have a fragarent, versitile crafting material.
  • Kid Friendly: A great way to engage kids in the garden is with lamb’s ear.  Who doesn’t love to stroke the silvery, fuzzy leaves?  Plant some just for them, and I’ll bet you find yourselves out there petting plants together.

Other Uses for Lamb’s Ear

There are many other uses for lamb’s ear that I did not test, such as its edible and medicinal qualities, among many others.  For example, “The leaves traditionally have been used in cooking from the West Indies. A lovely tea can be made from the leaves as well, tasting a bit like chamomile”, according to Sydney J. Tanner from The Herald.  Lot’s of articles have been written on these topics, but I recommend you check out Sydney’s article here, it will give you great insight into additional uses.

The Downside

Lamb’s ear is not a perfect angel.  It has a reputation for being invasive.  I’ve read reviews that range anywhere from “it’s bent on world domination” to “I’ve had no trouble in my garden”.  Based on personal observation, I would say caution is advisable.  Although the colonies seemed very easy to uproot and control, it can seed like crazy.  Make sure you plant it if and where you really want it.  In my situation, I’m ok if it spreads because I intend to use it intensively.  But keep it’s reputation in mind for your garden plans.

Summing It Up

Based on vast array of uses for this plant, I’d say its a winner.  Keep it under control, and you can have a very nice and extremely useful addition to your garden!

Sharing is Caring!

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to comment  and share.  [sharexy] I’m delighted to hear your questions and suggestions!  Thanks!

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 25, 2018 at 8:46 pm

I used lamb here to kill bad breath. I chew on it before i go to bed to get rid of bad breath…also help with gum infections

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Rebecca Simpson November 26, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Wow, interesting! Thanks for the tip on another way to use this interesting plant!

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Beverley Estes August 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

It does not say how to cook it or eat it raw or what to cook it in. Broth or water or milk or or. This is my first time growing it. Be39

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Rebecca Simpson August 15, 2018 at 11:30 am

Hi and thank you for commenting. Unfortunately I am not familiar with how to cook any part of the plant. If you find some useful info out there, please let us know!

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Anonymous July 24, 2018 at 1:38 pm

How do u eat lambs ear.. (Using lambs ear in the kitchen)

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RJ October 6, 2018 at 10:25 am

I saw a fried dish where the leaves were lightly breaded and pan fried. I guess a middle eastern dish. You can also just pick them and eat them if you can abide the fuzzy sensation on your tongue.

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Rebecca Simpson October 6, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Thanks for the tip!

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Marjorie April 8, 2015 at 9:38 am

But keep it’s reputation in mind for your garden plans.
Incorret usage of it’s. It’s always = it is
its = of it, belonging to it
explain the presence of bees on it’s stalks
Here the stalks of it = its stalks.
Ok, so I’m the grammar police, but still…..I did enjoy the points about the bees. I have lots of lambs ears along the edge of the driveway, noticed the many bees in the summer, but did not think I could also eat it.

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karla April 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Hi, I would like to know if u know were i could buy dried lamb’s ear? Thank you..

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Paul Bee June 3, 2013 at 6:24 am

It’s a good and useful list. Thanks.

Another use it has (I was hoping you’d mention it), which may also explain the presence of bees on it’s stalks, is as nesting material for Wool Carder bees (Anthidium manicatum). 🙂

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Suburban Stone Age June 3, 2013 at 6:27 am

Hi Paul! Thanks for your comment. I did not mention it because I honestly didn’t know that Wool Carder bees used it. Thank you so much for pointing that out, it is yet another reason to adore this plant. I appreciate the input!

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