Lamiaceae-sage2017-06-24T16:17:24+00:00

Lamiaceae: Mint Family — Salvia and other sages

Pitcher Sage – Lepechinia calycina

Blooms:

Apr–June

Plant Height:

1–2 m

Flower Size:

Large

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Chaparral

Notes:

A largish shrub, this has leaves that are similar to Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), but the pendulous flowers, generally pale lavender but sometimes white, are distinctive. Note how the four-lobed upper lip is rolled back and the lower lip more extended. Very aromatic, like most sages.

Thistle Sage – Salvia carduacea

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

1–10 dm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Sandy & gravelly places, interior

Notes:

An uncommon sage, found in the interior in the southern parts of the county, this is aptly named for its thistle-like, white-woolly leaves which are wavy-edged with short spines. Individual flowers are lavender, 25–35 mm with a fringed lower lip. Calyx lobes are, like the leaves, woolly and spiny.

Chia – Salvia columbariae

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

1–5 dm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry, sandy & gravelly places

Notes:

Chia produces vivid blue flowers in whorls on reddish-brown heads. It is often found in profusion. The leaves are coarse and pinnately lobed but not woolly or spiny. The seeds are highly prized for their nutritional qualities.

Black Sage – Salvia mellifera

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

10–25 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Scrub & chaparral

Notes:

A very common sage, this has obovate-elliptic to obovate leaves which are highly aromatic. The white flowers, which quickly turn brown on the margins,  are in whorled clusters  separated by abut 2–3 cm of stem. The common name derives from the dark appearance of the spent flower clusters after they have set seed.

Creeping Sage – Salvia sonomensis

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

1–4 dm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry slopes in chaparral and woodland

Notes:

This is a prostrate, mat-forming sub-shrub with leafless flowering stems. Flowers are in 5–8 whorls, 1–1.5 cm across. The distinctive fringed lower lip of the blue to violet flowers is generally more than 2 × the upper.  Leaves are 3–6 cm, puckered, elliptic to ovate and with minute teeth.

Crimson / California Hummingbird Sage – Salvia spathacea

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

3–7 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry slopes in chaparral and woodland

Notes:

Unmistakable, with its purplish-red, tubular, 2-lipped flowers with long exserted stigma and stamens. The flowers are in 3–6 whorls towards the top of the flower spike.  Leaves are 10–20 cm, wrinkled, opposite and arrow-shaped with rounded teeth on the margins, woolly underneath. Bracts are oval and the stem varies from green to purplish-bronze.