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Monday - June 29, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: User Comments
Title: Question about Salvia coccinea photos in the Native Plant Database
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

A search for Salvia coccinea in the database resulted in some of the pictures showing frostweed crystals ('am assuming that is an error), as well as some white and bicolor pastel pink & white blooms. Can S. coccinea have that much variation in color?

ANSWER:

All of the photos you mention from our Native Plant Database are indeed Salvia coccinea (blood sage).  One of our experts, Joe Marcus, took the photos showing the ice crystals that do look like the ice crystals that form from the sap of Verbesina virginica (frostweed).  Here is what he says about them:

"I remember taking the picture and being very surprised at what I was seeing - and photographing.  I think it did the frostweed-y thing because the tops of the plants had recently been sheared and the stems were still alive and full of water.  In other words, the conditions under which the Salvia would produce the ice ribbons were very specific and very unusual.  I wanted to capture the evidence that it could happen - in rare circumstances - and that is what I did."
 
Also, although the majority of plants of the species have red blossoms, there are different color varieties of S. coccinea. The pink and white flowered one is a cultivar, but we're not sure which one.  The most common cultivar with flowers this color is one called 'Coral Nymph' (sometimes marketed as 'Cherry Blossom'), but there may also be other pink and white cultivars. 


Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica

Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea

Salvia coccinea
 

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