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Salvia dorrii (Purple sage)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Salvia dorrii

Salvia dorrii (Kellogg) Abrams

Purple Sage, Gray Ball Sage, Dorri Sage, Desert Sage

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)


USDA Symbol: sado4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A many-branched sub-shrub, 2-3 ft. tall and often broader than high, with numerous silvery-gray leaves and rigid, often spiny branches. Deep blue to blue-violet bilaterally symmetrical flowers rise in long, showy, spike-like clusters above the silvery foliage.

It is this sage, not sagebrush, that is referred to in Zane Grey's classic Western, Riders of the Purple Sage. It is a handsome plant, pretty in leaf as well as in flower.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AZ , CA , ID , NV , OR , UT , WA
Native Distribution: WA & OR, e. of the Cascades, to CA, e. to s.w. ID, UT & AZ
Native Habitat: Dry, open scabland & sagebrush areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Dry, perfectly drained soils.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagate from seeds or softwood cuttings.
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


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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