En EspaŅol

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

What about Asian Jasmine and scrub oaks?
September 01, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have several clusters of native scrub oaks in my yard. I planted Asian jasmine under them many years ago. The trees look fine, but an arborist has told me that the Asian ...
view the full question and answer

Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
September 15, 2012 - I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.
view the full question and answer

Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
February 06, 2013 - To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?
view the full question and answer

Citrus trees for Austin
May 21, 2008 - I am looking for citrus that grows in the Austin,Tx area. Could you offer any suggestions please?
view the full question and answer

Corkscrew willow damage to roof in Detroit, MI.
August 13, 2009 - I have a corkscrew willow (Detroit, MI) that is huge and whose branches hang on top of the asphalt shingles of my mobile home. It has now been discovered that these shingles, under the branches, are ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center