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Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Salvia lyrata

Salvia lyrata L.

Lyreleaf sage, Cancer weed

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: SALY2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Lyreleaf sage is a strictly upright, hairy perennial, 1-2 ft. tall with a rosette of leaves at the base. The leaves are deeply 3-lobed, with a few simple leaves higher up on the stem. Large basal leaves are purple-tinged in the winter. This species has the typical square stem and 2-lipped blossom of the mints. Its pale-blue to violet, tubular flowers are arranged in whorls around the stem forming an interrupted, terminal spike. Each blossom is about 1 inch long. The 2-lobed lower lip is much longer than the upper, which has 3 lobes, the middle one forming a sort of hood. The sepals are purplish-brown.

Lyreleaf sage makes a great evergreen groundcover, with somewhat ajuga-like foliage and showy blue flowers in spring. It will reseed easily in loose, sandy soils and can form a solid cover with regular watering. It even takes mowing and can be walked on. The exposed lower lip of this and other salvias provides an excellent landing platform for bees. When a bee lands, the two stamens are tipped, and the insect is doused with pollen.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Inflorescence: Raceme
Size Notes: 1-2 feet.
Leaf: Dark green. In winter, veined with dark purple.
Flower: Flowers 1 inch long
Fruit: Tan
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Pale blue to lavender to white in color. In Texas, blooms for 4 or 5 weeks in spring.

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: FL to e. TX, n. to NY, OH, MO, & KS. Eastern United States, Zones 6 to 9
Native Habitat: Rich, rocky, open woods; alluvial areas; wet to dry meadows. Well-drained sand or loam. In Texas, found in sandy soils of open woods, meadows, and clearings in the eastern fourth of the state.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Acid or calcareous sands, loams, or clays, well-drained or not.
Conditions Comments: Tolerates periodic flooding and can take drought and overwatering.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: An adaptable ground cover or perennial flower that can be mowed and has attractive foliage and blooms.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Propagation

Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by divisions, rooted sections, or seeds.
Seed Collection: Collect the seeds as the capsules begin to dry but before they have dropped the seeds. Spread seeds in thin layers to dry a few days before storing in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Generally, a cold-moist stratification period is required for germination of Salvia seed.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Cut back flower stalks after seed dispersal. For a solid cover, plant in rich soil and let it seed out the first year. After that, cut with a line trimmer or mow after blooming.

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU FACU FAC FACW FACW
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Salvia lyrata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Salvia lyrata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Salvia lyrata

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff, LAL

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