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Salvia texana (Texas sage)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Salvia texana

Salvia texana (Scheele) Torr.

Texas Sage, Blue Sage

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)


USDA Symbol: sate3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Salvia texana, at first glance, is very much like Engelmann's sage (Salvia engelmannii), an herbaceous perennial up to one and a half feet tall with purple-blue blooms, but Salvia texana has a longer bloom period and its smaller, darker flowers are topped by unopened green buds. It shares a common name, Texas Sage, with Leucophyllum frutescens, more often known as Cenizo, a very different, much larger shrub. Salvia texana is a native of limestone soils from north-central Texas south to northern Mexico. Native plant experts Sally and Andy Wasowski recommend planting it with other purple-flowering native forbs like Engelmann's Sage and Purple Paintbrush (Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea) among short prairie grasses.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Oblanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Hirsute
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute , Obtuse
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Raceme
Size Notes: Up to about 18 inches tall.
Leaf: Green.
Flower: Flowers 17-25 mm long.
Fruit: Nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Color often described as a dark purplish blue.


Native Distribution: Widely distributed in well-drained limestone soils and on hills from north-central Texas (Denton County) south to northern Mexico and west to southeastern New Mexico
Native Habitat: Prairies, hillsides, slopes, and ledges in limestone soil

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Found in limestone soils of consistencies ranging from sandy to clay and rocky caliche


Use Ornamental: Perennial garden, shortgrass meadow, limestone prairie
Use Wildlife: Bees visit flowers
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Propagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Trim back the old seed spikes after blooming to maintain a tidy appearance.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0746 Collected Apr 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0751 Collected Apr 10, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
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 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: TWC Staff, LAL, GDG

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