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''Salvia mellifera'' (black sage, also known as seel by the
Mahuna ''Mahuna'' is a genus of planthoppers belonging to the family Achilidae. Species Species: *''Mahuna battis'' *''Mahuna conspersa'' *''Mahuna nebulosa'' *''Mahuna obscura'' *''Mahuna viridicans'' References

{{Taxonbar, from=Q10575422 ...
) is a small, highly aromatic,
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anc ...

evergreen
shrub of the genus ''
Salvia ''Salvia'' is the largest genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonom ...

Salvia
'' (the sages) native to California, and
Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is ...
, Mexico. It is common in the
coastal sage scrub Coastal sage scrub, also known as coastal scrub, CSS, or soft chaparral, is a low scrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community A plant community is a collection or Association (ecology), association of plant spec ...
of
Southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million resi ...

Southern California
and northern Baja California. Black sage has a dark appearance, especially during drought.


Description

Black sage is a
perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, thr ...
shrub that grows approximately tall. It is covered with simple hairs with some glandular hairs, which makes it highly aromatic. The leaves are oblong-elliptic to obovate in shape and are about long. The upper surface of the leaf is somewhat glabrous, while the lower surface of the leaf is hairy. The
inflorescence An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some ...
occurs in wide clusters. The flowers are usually a pale blue or lavender color, and rarely a pale rose color. The upper lip of the flower is 2-lobed. The style and
stamen The stamen (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ve ...
s are slightly exserted. The fruit produced by the black sage is a
schizocarp A schizocarp is a dry fruit that, when mature, splits up into mericarps. There are different definitions: * Any dry fruit composed of multiple carpels that separate. : Under this definition the mericarps can contain one or more seeds (the m ...
composed of four brown nutlets.


Ecology

Black sage grows in the coastal sage scrub and lower
chaparral Chaparral ( ) is a shrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterized by vegetation dominance (ecology), dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, Herbaceous plant, herbs, and geophytes. Shrublan ...

chaparral
plant communities. It occurs from sea level to elevation. Black sage is able to grow on a variety of different soils, including
sandstone Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron ('' mafic ' ...

sandstone
,
shale Shale is a fine-grained, clastic Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defi ...

shale
,
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
,
serpentinite Serpentinite is a rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemic ...

serpentinite
, and
gabbro Gabbro () is a phaneritic (coarse-grained), mafic intrusion, intrusive igneous rock formed from the slow cooling of magnesium-rich and iron-rich magma into a crystallinity, holocrystalline mass deep beneath the Earth's surface. Slow-cooling, coa ...

gabbro
or
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extr ...

basalt
. It is semi-
deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, ...
, depending on the location and severity of drought, shallow rooted, and drought tolerant by leaf curling rather than drought-avoiding through leaf drop. Black sage readily hybridizes with three other coastal scrub ''Salvias'': ''
Salvia apiana ''Salvia apiana'', the white sage, bee sage, or sacred sage is an evergreen perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Hist ...

Salvia apiana
'' (white sage), ''
Salvia leucophylla ''Salvia leucophylla'', the San Luis purple sage, purple sage, or gray sage, is an aromatic In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a ...
'', and ''
Salvia clevelandii ''Salvia clevelandii'', the fragrant sage, blue sage, Jim sage and Cleveland sage, is a perennial plant that is native to Southern California and northern Baja California, growing below elevation in California coastal sage and chaparral habitat. ...

Salvia clevelandii
''. It rarely hybridizes with the annuals ''
Salvia columbariae ''Salvia columbariae'' is an annual plant that is commonly called chia, chia sage, golden chia, or desert chia, because its seeds are used in the same way as those of ''Salvia hispanica'' (Chia seed, chia). It grows in California, Nevada, Utah, A ...

Salvia columbariae
'' and '' Salvia carduacea''.


Traditional use

The
Chumash people The Chumash are a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenou ...
used a strong of the
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...

leaves
and
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the c ...

stem
s of the plant. This was rubbed on the painful area or used to soak one's feet. The plant contains
diterpenoid Diterpenes are a class of chemical compounds composed of four isoprene Isoprene, or 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene, is a common organic compound with the formula CH2=C(CH3)−CH=CH2. In its pure form it is a colorless volatile liquid. Isoprene is an un ...
s, such as and , that are pain relievers. The Black Sage also produces a
nectar Nectar is a sugar Sugar is the generic name for , soluble s, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also called s, include , , and . Compound sugars, also called s or double sugars, are molecules made of two monosaccharides jo ...

nectar
that Black Sage
honey Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some other Bee, bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretion ...

honey
is made from. This honey is typically peppery and strong, and is prized as a rare honey due to the plant's dry climate. Black Sage honey can only be made when specific rain conditions are met and the plant produces enough nectar.


See also

*
California chaparral and woodlands The California chaparral and woodlands is a terrestrial ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ...


Notes


External links


USDA Forest Service: SPECIES: ''Salvia mellifera''USDA Natural Resources Conservation Treatment: Salvia melliferaJepson Flora Project – ''Salvia mellifera''
{{DEFAULTSORT:Salvia Mellifera mellifera Flora of California
Flora of Baja California This category contains the native flora of Baja California as defined by the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions. Taxa of the lowest rank are always included; taxa of higher ranks (e.g. genus) are only included if monotypic ...
Natural history of the California chaparral and woodlands Natural history of the California Coast Ranges Natural history of the Channel Islands of California Natural history of the Peninsular Ranges Natural history of the San Francisco Bay Area Natural history of the Santa Monica Mountains Natural history of the Transverse Ranges Plants used in traditional Native American medicine Garden plants of North America Drought-tolerant plants