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Blue Sage Salvia azurea

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Lamiales

Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Salvia



see List of Salvia species

Sage is a term used for plants of the genus Salvia of the mint family, Lamiaceae. When used without modifiers, sage generally refers to common sage (Salvia officinalis); however, it can be used with modifiers to refer to any member of the genus. This genus includes shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. Different species of sage are grown as herbs and as ornamental plants. The ornamental species are commonly referred to by their scientific name Salvia.

The closely related genera Perovskia and Phlomis are also known as sage; Russian Sage, (Perovskia atriplicifolia), native to the Crimea south to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is grown as an ornamental plant because of its blue-violet sprays of flowers and its adaptability to either sun or part shade. It has a pleasant smell and is also grown as a bee plant, but is not consumed by humans. Jerusalem Sage refers to Phlomis fruticosa and other species of Phlomis.

Some species of the unrelated genus Artemisia are also referred to as sages, a shortened version of sagebrush, which is a more appropriate term for them. They generally taste vile and are not used in food preparation, although many of them are used medicinally. Smudge bundles are made with various grey-leaved species of Artemisia and are misrepresented as "whitesage" smudges. The true whitesage is Salvia apiana, which has a delightful scent when burned.

Contents [hide]

1 History

2 Notable species

2.1 Aromatic sages

2.2 Non-aromatic sages

2.3 Chia sages

3 Medicinal uses

3.1 Aromatic sages

4 References

5 External links



The sage varieties used as herbs stem from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor and Sage has been grown in Central Europe since the Middle Ages.

The name Salvia derives from the Latin 'salveo', which means 'to heal'. Indeed this herb is highly regarded for its healing qualities. An ancient proverb states, "Why should a man die who has sage in his garden?". The ancient Greeks used it to treat consumption, ulcers and snake bites.

The Romans considered sage to be a sacred herb and concocted a whole elaborate ceremony just to pick it. A sage gatherer would have to use a special knife (not made of iron as it reacts with the sage), have to have clean clothes and clean feet and a sacrifice of food would have to be made before he could begin. The Romans would use it for toothpaste; they also believed it to be good for the brain, senses and memory.

The Chinese also were quite partial to this herb. 17th century Dutch merchants found that they would trade one chest of sage leaves for three of their teas [1].


Notable species


Aromatic sages

Salvia apiana, White sage, California white sage, a perennial at home in the mountains of Southern California, sometimes found in the desert of southern Arizona

Salvia candelabrum, a blue-flowering scented sage

Salvia clevelandii, Blue sage, Cleveland sage, Fragrant sage, with a very strong scent, found either delightful or disgusting

Salvia clevelandii x pachyphylla x leucophylla Celestial Blue, Celestial Sage, Musk Sage. Hybrid between Cleveland Sage, Rose Sage, and Pozo Blue Sage

Salvia fulgens, Cardinal sage, Mexican red sage, a red-flowering perennial

Salvia greggii, Autumn sage, a red-flowered sage with a very strong scent

Salvia leucophylla, Purple sage, a drought tolerant perennial from Southern California.

Salvia lyrata, Lyre-leaved sage, Lyreleaf sage, Cancerweed, a purple-flowering perennial

Salvia officinalis, Common sage; this is the best-known species of sage. There are several varieties

Salvia pratensis, Meadow clary, Meadow sage, a blue-flowering species

Salvia sclarea, Clary (or Clary sage), a biennial sage with enormous (for sages) flower spikes, quite showy, used in teas

Salvia spathacea, Pitcher sage or Hummingbird sage, a magenta-flowering annual with huge leaves

Salvia verticillata, Whorled clary, Lilac sage, a white- or blue-flowering perennial with the scent of Clary


Non-aromatic sages

Salvia argentea, Silver sage, usually a showy-flowered biennial, named for the color of its foliage

Salvia azurea, Blue sage, Azure blue sage; this species has very big bright blue flowers

Salvia coccinea, Blood sage, a scarlet-flowered tender perennial

Salvia divinorum, Diviner's sage, a highly psychoactive variety

Salvia farinacea, Mealycup sage, grown as an annual in temperate climates will survive mild winters

Salvia guaranitica, grown as an ornamental plant and a bee plant, has brilliantly saturated blue flowers and is perennial. It is one of the sages often known as hummingbird sage.

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