Salvia officinalis L.

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Salvia officinalis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/salvia/salvia-officinalis/). Accessed 2022-05-24.

Genus

Common Names

  • Common Sage

Glossary

corolla
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
perfect
(botanical) All parts present and functional. Usually referring to both androecium and gynoecium of a flower.
calyx
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
corolla
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.

References

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Salvia officinalis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/salvia/salvia-officinalis/). Accessed 2022-05-24.

A sub-evergreen, aromatic shrub, usually 1 to 2 ft high, but said in favourable places to become three times as high; young stems square, and only half woody; the whole plant is covered with a short down which gives it a grey appearance. Leaves opposite, oblong, 2 to 312 in. long, 12 to 1 in. wide; much wrinkled, round-toothed. Flowers arranged in whorls on terminal, erect racemes about 6 in. long. Corolla tubular, 34 in. long, two-lipped, purple; calyx ribbed, funnel-shaped, two-lipped, about half as long as the corolla. Perfect stamens two. Blossoms from June onwards.

This species is considered to be genuinely wild at least in Spain and W. Yugoslavia, but is naturalised elsewhere in S. Europe; long cultivated as a medicinal and culinary herb and probably introduced to Britain in the early Middle Ages (or even in Roman times). It was highly valued in former times for making sage-beer – supposed to possess many healing virtues. It is still much used in the kitchen and indeed one of the most widely grown and sold of culinary herbs. The plant likes a sunny position, and is easily increased by cuttings placed under a handlight. Although rarely seen outside the kitchen garden, this plant is worth growing in a collection of old-fashioned fragrant plants for its crowd of erect racemes. But some of the clones of common sage sold for growing in the kitchen garden are selected for their leafiness and do not flower freely.


'Albiflora'

Flowers white. Said to be the best culinary sage.

'Aurea'

Leaves yellow; habit compact. This seems to have become rare.

'Icterina' ('Variegata')

Leaves variegated with yellow and light green (S. off. icterina Alefeld, possibly a misprint for icterica – jaundiced).

'Purpurascens' ('Purpurea')

Leaves purple when young. This is probably the red sage of Parkinson, cultivated since the early 17th century at least. There is more than one clone under this name.

'Rubriflora'

Flowers reddish purple. Cultivated since the 16th century.

'Tricolor'

Leaves grey-green, veined with yellowish white and pink, darkening to red or rosy-red. Raised in France towards the end of the last century. Probably a sport of the purple sage.S. lavandulifolia Vahl S. hispanorum Lag.; S. officinalis var. hispanorum (Lag.) Benth. – Very closely allied to S. officinalis but with narrower oblong or linear-oblong leaves and the flowering stems not furnished with leaves. Native of Spain, cultivated in European gardens since the 16th century.S. grandiflora Etlinger ? S. tomentosa Mill. – More robust than S. officinalis, with leaves 2 to 4 in. long and up to 2{1/2} in. wide, rounded or slightly cordate at the base. Native of the Balkans, Asia Minor, etc., cultivated in Central and W. Europe since the 16th century and said to be more commonly grown in S. Germany and N. Switzerland than the common sage (Hegi, Fl. Mitteleuropa, Vol. V, p. 2483).