The ornamental sages are often popularly called salvia. Of these the scarlet sage (S. splendens), native to Brazil, is best known. Clary (S. sclarea), native from the Mediterranean region to Iran, is a biennial sage whose seeds were once used to
clear the eye; it has bluish or pinkish flowers, and its oil is sometimes used similarly to that of the common sage.
The seeds of some species of W North America, e.g., the thistle sage (S. carduacea) of California, were used by Native Americans for a flour and a beverage. Another species is S. carnosa, the purple sage of the western deserts. S. divinorum, native to S Mexico and known as diviner's sage or magic mint, has psychoactive properties and is used as a hallucinogenic drug. Most sages are good honey plants.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants