Salvia clevelandii (A gray) E. Green


x ĎAromasí    



                                                                                    Mint Family 


Salvia Hybrid    

                                          May Photo 

Plant Characteristics:  A fragrant shrub to 1-1.25 m. tall, ashy with dense branched hairs; lf. blades tapered to truncate with crenulate leaf margins and rugose leaf surface, to 3 cm. long, petioles 4-6 mm. long; glomerules 4 (some with 3 & 5), separated, many-fld., with ovate bracts to 1.9 cm. long; calyx 8-10 mm. long, lower teeth free; corolla dark blue-violet, ca. 2 cm. long, the lips equal, middle lobe of the lower lip oblong, 4.5 mm. long; stamens well exserted, strip between anther sacs glabrous; nutlets not observed as not mature when specimen taken.


The Tree of Life Nursery, who specialize in native plants and supplied this specimen in 2002, say that hybrid ĎAromasí was a garden seedling of Salvia clevelandii and an unknown salvia.  The plant was introduced by the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation in 1981.  Tree of Life grows both S. clevelandii and ĎAromasí.  Of interest is the fact that Salvia clevelandii is usually grown from seed but ĎAromasí is always grown from cuttings.  John Johnson has pointed out that hybrids to not breed true ordinarily.  So to produce more such plants, cuttings from the original hybrid must be used.


John Johnson has compared the characteristics of S. clevelandii and S. leucophylla and feels that the ĎAromasí hybrid is almost certainly a hybrid of these two species. In the general data below I quote John Johnsonís comparison of the two species.


Habitat:  Salvia clevelandii is found on dry slopes below 3000 ft.; Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub; cismontane San Diego Co.; n. lower CA.  Salvia leucophylla is common on dry barren slopes, mostly below 2000 ft.; Coastal Sage Scrub; Orange Co. to San Luis Obispo and Kern Cos.


Name:  Salvia, Latin, to save, from medicinal use.  (Hickman, Ed. 725).  Clevelandii is a name in honor of someone named Cleveland, possibly Grover Cleveland, 1837-1908, the former president of the United States.  Or, as John Johnson suggests the name is from the fact that the plant is found in the chaparral of the Cleveland National forest, which itself commemorates the name of President Grover Cleveland.  Greek, leukos, white and Greek phyllon, leaf. (Jaeger 140, 196).  Referring to the dense white hairs on the leaves.


General:  Rare in the study area having been introduced in 2002 when a number of different native plants were put out along the bluff top, two draws southerly of the Interpretive Center.  Two or three Salvia plants have survived and are now large and

robust; hopefully they will flourish.  (my comments).       Following is a comparison of S. clevelandii and S. leucophylla by John Johnson with comments about the characteristics of  hybrid ĎAromasí:  ďThe Salvia specimen is of much interest.  I feel confident that it is a hybrid of Salvia leucophylla and Salvia clevelandii.  When keying it out, clevelandii in both the Jepson Manual and in Munz is stated to have simple retrorse hairs.  Leucophylla  is said to have much branched hairs.  This specimen has much branched hairs, and very dense, making a felt-like covering on the leaves, especially beneath.   The leaf shape of clevelandii is tapered to truncate, in leucophylla truncate to cordate.  The specimen has tapered to truncate leaves, never cordate.  Both species have crenulate leaf margins and rugose leaf surfaces, especially beneath.  Clevelandii has up to three glomerules or flower heads per peduncle.  Leucophylla has up to 5 glomerules.  The specimen has four glomerules.  The flower color is dark blue-violet in clevelandii, in leucophylla rose-violet.  The patches of color still showing in the dried specimen are dark blue.  The anther sacs of clevelandii are separated by a hairy middle strip.  The anther sacs of leucophylla are separated by a glabrous strip.  The specimen has a glabrous strip between the anther sacs.  Finally, nothing is said about the aroma of leucophylla, but clevelandii is described as very fragrant, and indeed is suggested as a substitute for the usual sage used in cooking.  And your specimen is most pleasingly fragrant.  The specimen thus has a mix of characteristics of both clevelandii and leucophylla.  I feel very surely that it is a hybrid of the two.Ē       All species are excellent bee fodder and have edible seeds (a traditional food for native Californians). About 900 species worldwide, especially tropical and subtropical America.  Hickman, Ed. 725. 


Text Ref:  Munz, Flora So. Calif. 536; Hickman, Ed. 726.

Photo Ref:  April-May 05 #9,10,11,22,23.

Identity:  Hybrid parents by John Johnson.

First Found: February 2002.


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 556.

Have plant specimen.

Last edit. 8/11/05.


                              May Photo                                                                           May photo