Ballota africana is an aromatic herb with an unusual appearance. The grey colour is due to the hairy leaves and stems. Stems are notably square. The leaves are opposite and often point downwards. The pink to purple petals drop off early from the whorled flower-head, leaving the prominent brown calyx as a striking feature of the plant’s appearance. It has a long flowering season from autumn into early summer (www.plantzafrica.com).