50 Natives: Illinois: Stachys byzantina – Lamb’s Ear

NOTE: I am not sure how I made the mistake…since I was double checking in disbelief right from the beginning…but Lambs Ears are not native to Illinois – shame on me…my punishment…I will post another Illinois native next week!

I’m going to rock the boat a little here, but I am reporting from  on a very reliable source…that is the USDA website.  Common knowledge of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) is that is it native to Turkey, Iran and neighboring countries in the middle East, but apparently the variety Stachys byzantina K. Koch is native to some US states as well – including Illinois.

1. stachys byzantina, 2. Stachys byzantina ~ Lamb’s ears (Turkey), 3. Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’, 4. Stachys byzantina lammöron_2505

It is a commonly grown plant for children’s gardens or used as an edging plant, the attraction being that they are   easy to grow and the thick felt like leaves are fun to touch.

by patrick_standish

These large leaved varieties (‘Helen Von Stein’) give a beautiful lush look, especially early in the spring when the leaves are more green as the silver colored hair hasn’t yet matured.

by fionaheyes

Lunaria annua & Stachys byzantina (Honesty and Lamb’s ears) presents a beautiful color combination that surprisingly isn’t that common in height of the season – Silver and Chocolate Brown – but it is certainly worth striving for.

by Viveka’s photos

All cottage gardeners would agree, this classic combo of peony, digitalis, and lambs ears is a perfect in pink combination that never fails.  And for gardeners needing a deer proof solution…this is it…all of these plants are avoided by munchy critters.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. C.M. Buxton on March 16, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Stachys byzantina is not native. Always click on “view native status” below the USDA maps and you will see what is native and what is introduced. Stachys byzantina is introduced – not native – in any states. This is an important key to using the USDA plant site – which I love!

    • rochelle on March 17, 2010 at 6:47 am

      C.M. – You are Right…I know this too…and I don’t know how I made this mistake…because I questioned what I thought I was seeing on the USDA site…but finally just went with it….oh -well I will put Illinois back on the list of states to be completed. Thanks for pointing it out.

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