Meadow sage Salvia pratensis, photographed by Leo Michels.

Belongs within: Lamiaceae.

Salvia, the sages, is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs and small shrubs. Salvia officinalis is the culinary sage; other species are grown as ornamentals. White sage S. apiana is a small shrub found in south-west North America whose seeds were used as a staple by pre-colonial societies. Scarlet sage S. coccinea is an erect herb bearing bright scarlet flowers.

Characters (from Black & Robertson 1965): Herbs or undershrubs with opposite leaves; flowers in bracteate false-whorls, forming long terminal racemes or panicles. Calyx two-lipped, 13-15-nerved, the upper lip three-toothed or almost entire, the lower bifid; corolla two-lipped, the upper lip erect, hooded, entire or notched, the lower three-lobed, the middle lobe the largest; stamens 2, the short filament terminating in a two-branched connective, the longer branch bearing one cell of the anther and the shorter branch an abortive scale-like cell; nutlets ovoid-trigonous, smooth.

<==Salvia L. 1753 L95
    |--S. aegyptiaca CS77
    |--S. aethiopis BR65
    |--S. apiana D51
    |--S. arborescens J87
    |--S. aurea BR65
    |--S. bahorucana J87
    |--S. brandegei H93
    |--S. carduacea H93
    |--S. castanea O88
    |--S. clevelandii H93
    |--S. coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etlinger 1777 (see below for synonymy) L95
    |--S. columbariae [incl. S. columbariae var. ziegleri] H93
    |--S. dorrii H93
    |    |--S. d. var. dorrii [incl. S. dorrii ssp. argentea, S. dorrii ssp. gilmanii] H93
    |    |--S. d. var. incana [incl. S. dorrii ssp. carnosa] H93
    |    `--S. d. var. pilosa H93
    |--S. eremostachya H93
    |--S. farinacea WL10
    |--S. foveolata J87
    |--S. fruticosa PT98
    |--S. funerea H93
    |--S. greatae H93
    |--S. hians O88
    |--S. lanigera Poiret 1817 [incl. S. controversa] BR65
    |--S. leucantha RA07
    |--S. leucophylla H93
    |--S. lyrata C55
    |--S. mellifera D51
    |--S. micrantha L95
    |--S. misella Kunth 1818 L95
    |--S. mohavensis H93
    |--S. munzii H93
    |--S. occidentalis Sw. 1788 L95
    |--S. officinalis BR65
    |--S. pachyphylla H93
    |--S. pratensis TG88
    |--S. reflexa Hornem. 1807 PS05
    |--S. roborowskii O88
    |--S. santolinaefolia Boiss. 1842 [incl. S. pumila Benth. in DC. 1848, S. aegyptiaca var. pumila Hk. f. 1885] SY72
    |--S. selleana J87
    |--S. serotina L. 1767 L95
    |--S. sonomensis H93
    |--S. spathacea H93
    |--S. splendens Sellow ex R. & S. 1822 L95
    |--S. tippenhaueri J87
    |--S. tuerckheimii J87
    |--S. vaseyi H93
    |--S. verbenaca [incl. S. horminoides] BR65
    `--S. viridis PT98

Salvia coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etlinger 1777 [incl. S. coccinea ciliata Griseb. 1861, S. pseudococcinea Jacq. 1786, S. coccinea pseudococcinea Gray 1878] L95

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BR65] Black, J. M., & E. L. Robertson. 1965. Flora of South Australia. Part IV. Oleaceae–Compositae. W. L. Hawes, Government Printer: Adelaide.

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[D51] Dobzhansky, T. 1951. Genetics and the Origin of Species 3rd ed. Columbia University Press: New York.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum—Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1–136.

[L95] Liogier, H. A. 1995. Descriptive Flora of Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands: Spermatophyta-Dicotyledoneae vol. 4. Melastomataceae to Lentibulariaceae. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: an introductory note. In: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds). The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19–46.

[PT98] Panitsa, M., & D. Tzanoudakis. 1998. Contribution to the study of the Greek flora: flora and vegetation of the E Aegean islands Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi. Willdenowia 28: 95–116.

[PS05] Pusalkar, P. K., D. K. Singh, P. Lakshminarasimhan & S. Singh. 2005. Salvia reflexa Hornem. (Lamiaceae)—a new record for India. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 47: 153–154.

[RA07] Rodrigues, J. C. V., D. Achor, E. W. Kitajima, N. L. Nogueira & C. C. Childers. 2007. Plant diseases and injuries associated with Brevipalpus mites. In: Morales-Malacara, J. B., V. M. Behan-Pelletier, E. Ueckermann, T. M. Pérez, E. G. Estrada-Venegas & M. Badii (eds) Acarology XI: Proceedings of the International Congress pp. 381–390. Instituto de Biología and Faculdad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sociedad Latinoamericana de Acarología: México.

[SY72] Shah, G. L., & D. V. Yogi. 1972. Nomenclatural changes in some Bombay plants—IV. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (2): 444–449.

[TG88] Tepfer, D., A. Goldmann, N. Pamboukdjian, M. Maille, A. Lepingle, D. Chevalier, J. Dénarié & C. Rosenberg. 1988. A plasmid of Rhizobium meliloti 41 encodes catabolism of two compounds from root exudate of Calystegium sepium. Journal of Bacteriology 170 (3): 1153–1161.

[WL10] Wang, C.-L., F.-C. Lin, Y.-C. Chiu & H.-T. Shih. 2010. Species of Frankliniella Trybom (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) from the Asian-Pacific area. Zoological Studies 49 (6): 824–838.

Last updated: 31 December 2021.

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