Biological Sciences, Santa Barbara City College

Biology 100: Concepts of Biology

Salvia leucophylla    Purple Sage

Purple sage is an evergreen shrub that grows to between 3 – 6 feet tall.  It is found in California between Santa Maria and Baja on dry slopes between 50–800 m in elevation.  This exceptionally hardy and drought tolerant plant is used extensively in native plant and low-water landscaping.  Leucophylla means “with white leaves” and refers to the silver gray color of the foliage.  The aromatic leaves are 2 – 8 cm long and covered with silver or gray colored hairs that form a woolly matting (tomentose)

Purple sage blooms May – July.  Birds, bees, butterflies and insects are all attracted to the highly aromatic flowers.  The purple, 6 – 13 mm flowers are on stalks (spikes) that stick out of the foliage.  Flowers are in whorls (circles of flowers around the stem).  Whorls are spaced out along the length of the spike.
Salvia leucophylla.  Photo Credit photo credit Amy Findlay Calphoto
photo credit Amy Findlay Calphoto

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