WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

This flower with clustering stems loves rocky hills, yet doesn’t mind a nice garden setting either. Dense spike-like whorls of purple to deep-blue flowers bloom around the ends of hairy, 1–3-foot tall stems. Note the white, woolly hairs that cover the sepal cup below the flower, which give the plant its name. Many cultivars of this popular, long-blooming perennial have been developed. All members of the mint family have square stems.


FLOWER: March–November. The 1/2–1-inch long (12–25 mm), tubular, purple to violet-blue flowers have two upper lip lobes and a bottom lip with 3 lobes. Flowers bloom on leafless stems (peduncles) in separated whorls.


LEAVES: Opposite. Blades 1–4-inches long (2.5–4 cm), narrow to lance-shaped with coarsely toothed-margins, and no bristly hairs.


HABITAT: Gravelly, sand and clay loam soils, roadsides; woodland grasslands, pinyon-juniper, pine-Douglas fir forests.


ELEVATION: 5,000–9,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, NM, OK, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 12 species of Salvia in NM, 2 shrubs and 8 forbs with blue flowers. Other blue sages throughout NM don’t have the white, woolly hairs cupping the flowers.The widespread annual Sharptooth Sage, S. subincisa, has solitary (not clustered) dark-blue flowers with white markings spread along the stem.


NM COUNTIES: Scattered at low- to mid-elevation habitats; outlaying specimens may be garden escapees: Chaves, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Otero.

MEALYCUP  BLUE  SAGE

SALVIA  FARINACEA

Mint Family, Lamiaceae

Perennial herb

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All members of the mint family, Lamiaceae, have square stems.

Opposite leaves vary from narrow (left) to lance-shaped (right) blades coarsely toothed-margins and no bristly hairs. (photos: cultivated specimens)

Flowers bloom on leafless stems (peduncles) in separated whorls.

Mealy-cup Sage is a popular and widespread plant.

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