RE: [gardeners] Salvia confusion

Kay Lancaster (
Fri, 13 Jul 2001 11:13:57 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 13 Jul 2001, Terry King wrote:

> Does Hortus III have a physical description of S. nemorosa?  Sunset does say
> that May Night is S. xsylvestries which is an offspring of S. nemorosa.
> Sunset also says that nemorosa spreads by rhizomes, which I'm assuming would
> be the key difference between it and xsuperba and xsylvestris.

Remember that Hortus is only interested in cultivated plants, so it
totally ignores the real S. nemerosa other than:

S. nemerosa L: Not in clut.; material cult. under this name is usually
S.  x superba, some of it may be S. x sylvestris

S. x superba Stapf (S. nemorosa Mottet and authors, not L.; S. virgata
Hort, non Jaxq; S. virgata nemerosa Hort): S x sylvestis x S x
villicaulis Borb.  A sterile hybrid; perennial, to 4.5 ft, stems woody
at base, laves ovate-oblong to oblong, 1-3 long, obtuse to truncate at
base, crenulate, rugulose, gray-green, puberulent beneath, the lower
stem leaves mostly sessile; inflorescence densely spicate, 4-8" lonf,
bracks red-purple, corolla hearly 0.5" long, violet-purple, anthers
without pollen.  Known only in cultivation.

S. x sylvestris L. (S. nemerosa x S. pratensis)  Perennial, 6-30",
similar to S. pratensis but stem leaves more numerous and
oblong-lanceolate, the bracts purple, flowers more numerous, scarcely
more than 0.5" long, Europe to w. Asia.  Some material of S. pratensis
may belong here.

S. pratensis L.  Aromatic perennial, 1-3.5 ft high, pubescent, the
upper parts glandular; leaves ovate to oblong, 3-6" long, cordate,
doubly crenate or lobes, rugose, inflorescence spicate, verticillasters
4-6 flowe, bracts green, shorter than calyx, calyx teeth acute or
mucronate, corolla 5/8-1" long, strongly curved, typically violet-blue,
rarely pink or white, but in cultivation varying from rose-pink to dark
violet-purple.  Extremely variable, especially in size and shape of
corollae.  Europe, Morocco.  Some material grown under this name may be
the hybrid S. x sylvestris.  Cvx include 'Alba', 'Atroviolacea' and

S. nemerosa L.  Perennial herb to 1 m, erect, much branched.  Leaves to
10 cm, ovate or lanceolate to oblong, apex attenuate, base obtuse or
cordate, notched, rugose, and glandular-pubescent; petioles to 4 cm.
Verticillasters 2-6 flowered, in dense, terminal, stiff, branched spikes
to 40 cm; bracts to 10 mm, imbricate, ovate, violet or purple, calyx to
6 mm, dilated in fruit, pubescent; corolla 8-12 mm, violet to purpule or
white to pink.  Summer-authm.  Europe to Central asia.

S. x superba: Perennail herb, leaves to 7 c, oblong-lanceolate, rounded
to cordate at the base, crenate, rugose, pubescent beneath, lower leaves
petiolate.  Verticillasters 4-6 flowered, slightly separated, bracts
green or violte-tinged, orbicular; corolla dark violet, white
pubescents.  Central Asia, W. Siberia, Europe, naturalized in North
America.  'Alba' - coroola white. Cultivars grouped here are of
uncertain origin and may be S. nemerosa.  'Blauhu'gel;: dwarf, flowers
clear blue, abundant.  'Blauko"nigen ('Blue Queen'): compact, flowers
violet.  'Kew Gold': leaves gold, sometimes spotted green.  'Lubeca':
tall; glowers deep violet, early-flowering.   'Lye End': Leaves dark
green, flowers lilac=blue, sepals plume-like, brown.  'Mainacht'('May
night'): low, flowers blue to black.  'Negrito': flowers dark blue.
'Ostfriesland'('East Friesland'): flowers deep purple flushed blue.
'Primevere': flowers violet-lue. 'Rose Queen': leaves tinted grey,
flowers pale pink, calyx red.  'Rubin': flowers plum.  Ruegen': habit
compact, flowers blue.  'Senior': flowers violet.  'Ta"zerin': tall,
flowers purple.  'Viola Klose': flowers rich blue, early-flowering.
'Wesuwe' dlowers purple tinted blue, early flowering.

Probably the best place to look would be the recently completed
"European Garden Flora", which has a pre-pub price of $750.  Previous
volumes in the multivolume set are in the $150-200 range.