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Various Types of Ballota Flowers

This is a close look at the blossoms of a ballota nigra flower.

The stately Ballota flower, also known as horehound, grows naturally and natively in temperate regions of the world such as the Mediterranean. It grows naturally in Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Libya, Spain, Portugal, Balearic Islands, Italy, and Sicily. It only grows in a few states of the US where it has been introduced though, such as Oregon and Washington, as well as the northern states in the mid-west and east. You can grow it nearly anywhere in the US since it proves quite hardy.

The genus of flowering plants and subshrub provides a cornucopia of options since it contains 31 species from which to choose. A gardener can opt for a diverse range of colors of flowers, although the most common blossom comes in purple. You can also find naturally occurring species that bloom in white-, pink- or peach-colored flowers.

Think of any area you typically think a flower or shrub could not grow and there you may find Ballota flowers. This lovely plant thrives in the harshest conditions including rocky coasts, drought-ridden or arid lands, sandy shores, and chilly climates. It provides such a wide variety of species that you can find it in the wet state of Washington, the USA knew for its nearly daily rainstorms and the driest areas of Africa from Nambia to South Africa.

Any area you think you cannot grow plants you can try this tough shrub. It only requires sunshine. If you thought your soil too acidic for anything to grow in it, you can have flowers every summer by planting a species of Ballota.

Related: Types of Flowers by Color | Types of Flowers by Alphabet

Ballota Flowers

The Ballota flower belongs to the Lamiaceae family. The plant commonly referred to as horehound is an evergreen flowering perennial plant and subshrub member of this family. You will find the greatest diversity within the Mediterranean region, but many species also grow in Central Asia, northern Europe, South Africa, and some eastern North Atlantic islands.

The flower prefers growing in rocky ground that otherwise would be considered waste ground. If you want to add diversity to your garden and you live in an area with this type of ground, you can choose from the 31 species of horehound plus its close relations – the Marrubium and Moluccella.

Annual or perennial: Perennial

Sun/shade needs: Full sun

Water needs: Minimal

USDA hardiness zone: USDA zones seven to 10

Height: 12 to 23 inches (30 to 60 cm) height with a 12 to 18 inches (30 to 70 cm spread)

Species of Ballota

This is a close look at a blooming ballota africana flower.
  • Ballota acetabulosa (L.) Benth., native to Greece, Turkey
  • Ballota adenophora Hedge, native to Saudi Arabia
  • Ballota africana (L.) Benth., native to South Africa, Namibia
  • Ballota andreuzziana Pamp., native to Libya
  • Ballota antilibanotica Post, native to Syria, Lebanon
  • Ballota aucheri Boiss., native to Iran, Iraq
  • Ballota bullata Pomel., native to Algeria, Tunisia
  • Ballota byblensis Semaan & R.M.Haber, native to Lebanon
  • Ballota cristata P.H.Davis, native to Antalya region of Turkey
  • Ballota damascena Boiss., native to Syria, Egypt
  • Ballota deserti (de Noé) Jury, Rejdali & A.J.K.Griffiths, native to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania
  • Ballota glandulosissima Hub.-Mor. & Patzak , native to Turkey
  • Ballota grisea Pojark., native to Caucasus
  • Ballota hirsuta Benth., native to Spain, Portugal, Balearic Islands, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Chad; naturalized on Corsica
  • Ballota hispanica (L.) Benth., native to Italy, Sicily, Albania, Yugoslavia
  • Ballota inaequidens Hub.-Mor. & Patzak, native to Antalya region of Turkey
  • Ballota kaiseri Täckh., native to Sinai
  • Ballota larendana Boiss. & Heldr., native to Turkey
  • Ballota latibracteolata P.H.Davis & Doroszenko, native to Antalya + Içel regions of Turkey
  • Ballota luteola Velen, native to Saudi Arabia
  • Ballota macedonica Vandas, native to Albania, Yugoslavia, Greece
  • Ballota macrodonta Boiss. & Balansa, native to Nigde region of Turkey
  • Ballota nigra L., native to most of Europe; North Africa, Middle East as far east as Iran; naturalized in New Zealand, Argentina, North America
  • Ballota philistaea Bornm., native to Israel
  • Ballota platyloma Rech.f., native to Iran
  • Ballota pseudodictamnus (L.) Benth., native to Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Libya; naturalized in Italy
  • Ballota rotundifolia K.Koch, native to Erzurum region of Turkey
  • Ballota saxatilis Sieber ex C.Presl, native to Middle East from Turkey to Saudi Arabia
  • Ballota sechmenii Gemici & Leblebici, native to Turkey
  • Ballota undulata (Sieber ex Fresen.) Benth., native to Middle East from Syria to Saudi Arabia
  • Ballota vellerea Maire, Weiller & Wilczek, native to Morocco
This is a close look at the small blossoms of a ballota nigra flower.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Don’t be surprised to see larvae develop on the Ballota flowers. Some species serve as food for some varieties of Lepidoptera. This is a beneficial and natural relationship. These flowers also attract bees, so you can help the rest of your garden by planting these pollinators.


Gardeners’ World: Ballota pseudodictamnus The Ballota pseudodictamnus