En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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
2 ratings

Wednesday - September 14, 2011

From: Lake Worth , FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Nativity of Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is Salvia coccinea native to Florida? In wikipedia they say it is native to Mexico.

ANSWER:

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage), according to the USDA Plants Database is native to the lower 48 states of the United States, occurring in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and (strangely enough) Ohio, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  The USDA PLANTS Database says:

"In PLANTS, native means naturally occurring at the time of Columbus. Introduced plants arrived later, invariably with human assistance, from some other part of the world. Introduced plants reproduce spontaneously in the wild without human help. ... Because people have been moving plants for thousands of years, and because it is often hard to know how a plant got where it is, Native Status is frequently ambiguous and therefore difficult to assign.

We have broken the PLANTS Floristic Area (PFA) into Native Status jurisdictions to try to improve our information about where plants are native. A plant that is native to any part of a Native Status jurisdiction (e.g., L48, the lower 48 states) is considered Native, even if some populations within that area are introduced."

The Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants also lists Salvia coccinea as native.

The plant is also native to Mexico and Central and South America.  What Wikipedia says is: 

"At one time Brazil was considered to be where it originated, but its diploid chromosome count now points to Mexico as its place of origin."  

This doesn't tell us when it originated and how it spread, but it is likely that it originated a very long time ago and could have spread up into Texas and towards Florida long before Columbus came to the New World.  As the  USDA PLANTS Database says:  "Native status is frequently ambiguous and therefore difficult to assign."

Escaped cultivated plants likely explain the population in Ohio.

You can read more about what USDA PLANTS Database means by "native" and "introduced". 

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

More Non-Natives Questions

Leaves of non-native crape myrtle browning in Sinton TX
June 12, 2010 - Crepe myrtle – tips of leaves are brown and curling up.
view the full question and answer

Cross pollination of non-native poinsettia
December 01, 2008 - I have a poinsettia that I have had for about 5 yrs. that has always flowered red. Last Christmas I was given one that was white. During the summer I put both plants in my green house side by side. Th...
view the full question and answer

Differences between Lantana urticoides and Lantana camara
July 13, 2012 - I have found an orange variety of lantana growning in several location in Jefferson County. Is there any way I can tell for sure if it is L. camara or the native L. urticoides?
view the full question and answer

Nativity of Lantana camara and Strelitzia reginae
November 08, 2011 - I was wondering why Lantana Camara is not in the Wildflower's database. Multiple sources say it is native to the U.S. and North America. I was also wondering if Strelitzia reginae (Bird-of-Paradise...
view the full question and answer

Non-native smoketree for California City, CA
June 28, 2010 - I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be a good or bad idea to plant a Smoke Tree (most likely European) in the vicinity of a septic tank. We are looking for something which will provide a...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center