Salvia apiana (Photo: *)
Salvia apiana Jeps.
Muhlenbergia; a Journal of Botany. Lancaster, PA, and Los Gatos, CA 3:144. 1908
Salvia apiana, also known as white sage, bee sage, or sacred sage, is an evergreen perennial shrub of the genus Salvia, the sages. It is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, being found mainly in the coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern California and Baja California, on the western edges of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
White sage is a sub-shrub that can grow over 1 meter tall. The leaves (about 4–8 cm long) are generally basal and are covered with dense hairs, which give them a white coloring. The leaves are widely lanceolate with tapered bases, and the margins are minutely toothed. The inflorescence is a spike-like cluster with few flowers. The white flowers have lavender spots and streaks. The flowers have a bilateral shape and are about 12–22 mm in length. Both the stamens and styles are exserted past the end of the flower lobes. The 2.5– to 3-millimeter-long fruit is a shiny, light-brown nutlet.
Ecology and Reproduction
White sage is a common plant that requires well-drained dry soil, full sun, and little water. The plant occurs on dry slopes in coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and yellow-pine forests of Southern California to Baja California at less than 1500 m elevation.
Bumblebees, hawk moths, and wasps pollinate white sage, and hummingbirds also appear to like the plant.
White sage typically flowers between May and August.
White sage is also used medicinally. It can be made into a tea, which decreases sweating, salivation, and mucous secretions in the sinuses, throat, and lungs. Cold tea can be a good stomach tonic, while a lukewarm tea is good for treating sore throats. The leaves can also be used as a uterine hemostatic tea for heavy menstruation; however, since it can also decrease lactation, nursing mothers are advised not to use it.
White sage is considered sacred by many Native Americans; it is used to make smudge sticks, a type of incense. White sage is believed to cleanse a space of any evil spirits or 'negative' energies that may be present. This power is said to be released from the plant by the burning of the leaves, which are typically bundled into a wand or stick. Today many Native American tribes still use the stems and leaves for smudging as part of purification ceremonies. The practice has also been adopted by some modern neopagans, and for general spiritual uses.
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License