Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
7 ratings

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: New River, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: What is sage-like plant in New River AZ?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a sage like looking plant growing wild in my yard. I live in the Sonora Desert. Its leaves are purple and once a year in spring it will bloom small blooms that are lavender. It grows 2 to 3 and a half feet tall. It sort of spreads out rather than grows totally upwards-although it does grow upwards. I thought it was purple sage but after reading about purple sages they all have green leaves and bloom purple-hope you can help.

ANSWER:

The first plant that comes to mind from your description is Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), which has gray-green leaves, bright pink-lavender flowers that will bloom intermittently all year, 2 to 5 ft. tall. However, you said it was growing wild in your yard, and this USDA Plant Profile does not show it as being native to Arizona. This is not a member of the Salvia genus, not a true sage, but is often called "Texas Sage" or "Ranger Sage" in commercial trade. But not even the cultivars or selections of this plant that we could find information on have purple leaves and, again, they would not ordinarily be growing wild in Arizona.

Looking at the true sages, we found Salvia leucophylla (San Luis purple sage), but this plant is endemic to California, and doesn't look anything like your description. 

We would love to know what your plant is, but will need more information and a picture or pictures to help us identify it. Go to the Mr. Smarty Plants page on Plant Identification for instructions on how to submit pictures and descriptions to us for identifying.

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Want to know the name of a string looking moss in OR.
August 02, 2011 - I want to know the name of a string looking moss or Licha that grows on pine trees? Thought was old mans whiskers, but this search brings up a flower; not what I am looking for. I found some in Glacie...
view the full question and answer

Dodder, rootless, leafless, parisitic twining plants
May 29, 2006 - Hello, I have been studying wildflowers in California for many years. Yesterday I came across a surprise and I am thus far unable to identify it. As it is raining today, I cannot get a photo, but I...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with pink catalpa-like flowers
July 31, 2013 - Ironically, this plant is growing on a hill behind a nursery. We are all curious what it could be..I've done internet searches for 2 days. My best guess is that it's in the catalpa family, but it's...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification in Houston, TX
October 10, 2013 - This plant to a bout a foot high. It almost looks like a weed and has a 2 in. furry top at the end. Also they were all gathered in a clump randomly around each other. What is this ?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Woodbury TN
July 07, 2009 - Please help identify this unusual plant. I am in Middle TN, Cannon County. This plant comes up every year and looks like something tropical. It has huge leaves about 16 + inches wide. and grows abo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.