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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Salvia pentstemonoides (Big red sage)
Crank, Elinor

Salvia penstemonoides

Salvia penstemonoides Kunth & Bouché

Big red sage, Penstemon sage

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Synonym(s): Salvia pentstemonoides

USDA Symbol: SAPE6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Once thought to be extinct, Big Red Sage was rediscovered in the 1980s and has become an established garden plant in Texas. It occurs in the wild in only a few locations in central Texas, but luckily it is easy to grow from seed and can attain an impressive stature in garden soil. The flowers are a sort of purplish red and appear in the summer, drawing many hummingbirds. Its robust, glossy foliage looks attractive behind a border and also smells pleasant - rubbing against the leaves releases a scent vaguely reminiscent of lemon-lime, but somehow more like Sprite or 7-Up. The specific epithet, formerly spelled penstemonoides, is an orthographic variant.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Flowers are red sort of tinged with purple, or red sort of tinged with blue.

Distribution

USA: TX
Native Distribution: Endemic to seeps on limestone ledges and banks along streams in central Edwards Plateau. Well-drained loam, clay, limestone.
Native Habitat: Stream, river banks, Ditches, Ravines, Depressions

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Limestone-based, Calcareous

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Attractive flowers and leaves that smell faintly like lemon-lime when brushed against
Use Wildlife: A sure hummingbird attractor
Use Food: Like many red-flowered Salvias, its flowers are both edible and sweet.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Cut spent flower spikes to their basal rosettes.

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: 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:

Wrights Nursery - Briggs, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1988 VOL. 5, NO.1 - National Jubilee Honors Lady Bird Johnson, President's Report, Spring Wildflower...
Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.1 - Research Update, Creating Native Lawn with Sod, Director's Report, What Makes Pl...
Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.5 - Ten Year Anniversary Celebration, A Look Back at Our First Decade, Celebration o...

Additional resources

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

Metadata

Record Modified: 2014-07-17
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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