Salvia aethiopis, Mediterranean Sage

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener September 21, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Salvia aethiopis, Mediterranean Sage

Mediterranean sage is an invasive biennial plant with square stems reaching up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) tall. Fine, woolly hairs cover the stems, new leaves, and leaf undersides. Mature plants become less hairy and develop prominent venation on the leaves. Rosette leaves are grayish-green, petiolate, and 4 to 12 in. (10.2 to 30.5 cm) long. Rosettes can be 1 to 4 ft. (0.3 to 1.2 m) in diameter. The stem leaves are opposite, smaller than the rosette leaves, and aromatic (sage-like) when crushed. Leaves become smaller toward the apex of the stem. Flowering stems are highly branched and develop in June to August. The flowers are yellow to whitish and bilabiate. Four smooth nutlets with dark veins develop from each flower. Mature plants break off and become tumbleweeds, easily spreading as many as 100,000 seeds each. The plant is typically found in degraded sagebrush communities, disturbed sites, fields, rangelands, roadsides, and some agronomic crops. Mediterranean sage is a state-listed noxious weed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The plant is native to Europe and may have been introduced in contaminated alfalfa seed.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Lamiales > Lamiaceae > Salvia aethiopis L.

Synonym(s): African sage

Salvia aethiopis - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Mediterranean sage - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

Coperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

Mediterranean sage is a biennial plant with square stems reaching up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) tall. Fine, woolly hairs cover the stems, new leaves, and leaf undersides. Mature plants become less hairy and develop prominent venation on the leaves.

Vince Belleci, bugwood.org Todd Pfeiffer, Klamath County Weed Control, bugwood.org

Foliage

Rosette leaves are grayish-green, petiolate, and 4 to 12 in. (10.2 to 30.5 cm) long. Rosettes can be 1 to 4 ft. (0.3 to 1.2 m) in diameter. The stem leaves are opposite, smaller than the rosette leaves, and aromatic (sage-like) when crushed. Leaves become smaller toward the apex of the stem.

Lloyd Andres, USDA Agricultural research Service, bugwood.org L.L. Berry, bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering stems are highly branched and develop in June to August. The flowers are yellow to whitish and bilabiate.

Eric Coombs, Oregon Department of Agriculture, bugwood.org Eric Coombs, Oregon Department of Agriculture,   bugwood.org

Fruit

Four smooth nutlets with dark veins develop from each flower. Mature plants break off and become tumbleweeds, easily spreading as many as 100,000 seeds each.

 
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org bugwood.org

Native Species That Can Resemble Mediterranean Sage

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

Additional Images for Mediterranean Sage

Mediterranean sage - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Fact Sheet - Colorado Department of Agriculture

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign

Encycloweedia: Data Sheets - California Department of Food and Agriculture

Invasive Species Compendium (Beta) - cabi.org

Profiles: Noxious Weeds - Oregon Department of Agriculture, ODA Plant Division

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.