Salvia spathacea E. Greene

Crimson Pitcher Sage
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)


Crimson pitcher sage, or hummingbird sage as it is also commonly known, is a coarse perennial with a stout glandular-villous 1'-3' stem growing from creeping rhizomes.  Its leaves are opposite, oblong to ovate and arrowhead-shaped with rounded teeth, a dark green slightly wrinkled upper surface and an ashy-tomentose under surface.  The inflorescence is a spike of five or more viscid whorls subtended by purplish bracts. Both the calyx and the corolla are two-lipped, the calyx bristly and the corolla red to salmon-colored with two exserted stamens.  This species is a common inhabitant of grassy or shaded slopes to 2000' in chaparral, coastal sage scrub and oak woodland from Orange Co. to Central California, and blooms from March to May.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Salvia 2) spathacea.
Pronunciation: SAL-vee-a spa-THAY-see-a.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.