Salvia judaica

Salvia judaica

Salvia judaica: is a herbaceous perennial with basal growth  and a 20-30cmH branched inflorescence with violet flowers in summer

Salvia judaica
Salvia judaica

Salvia judaica is winter dormant, forms a clump of basal leaves and reappears in spring.

Flowers: are a falcate type flower with a straight mauve hood, slightly hairy with a white stripe down the middle of the hood. This acts as a marker for bees and other pollinating insects to see the flowers on dull or cloudy days when the light is low.

The 2 side lobes are small but flared out to open up the throat area. The mauve middle lobe is extended and flared out, often with a frill along the edge, this acts as a landing place for insects.

The white beeline with purple markings is prominent along the lobe, guiding the insects further into the flower. Mauve stamens and the stigma are seen around the lobe rather than coming from the hood.

Flowers are held in whorls of 6-8 flowers in regular verticilliata’s, along a dark long flowering stem 20-30cmH. These whorls are  all pointing downwards, so the insects have to fly or crawl  up into the flowers – one of the reason that the middle lobe is extended as it is to act as a landing place.

Flowering begins in late spring, continuing throughout the summer and into early autumn. The many flowering stems are held well above the basal foliage to attract passing insects.

Calyces: are green,but can quickly turn to a pink colour in a sunny position. They are covered with small white hairs, well ribbed with a blunt point.

These will remain on the flowering stem after the flowers have finished, becoming straw coloured as they dry. Small round dark seeds can be heard rattling in the calyces when the wind blows.

Leaves:  are long lyrate or pinnate dark green leaves forming a clump around the base. The surface is well veined and slightly hairy with more soft hairs on the underneath. the apex or tips are rounded with small rounded crenations  along the margins.
As the branched flower stem appears, sessile leaves are found at the base of each branch. These are often lobed and pointed.

Salvia judaica is a gorgeous small perennial that is best mass planted  along a pathway or in an informal border.

Making  a wonderful splash of mauve/ pink colour is very attractive. Plant with other white, bright or soft pink perennials or small shrubs in an open sunny position to gain the most from all the pollinating insects in summer, in free draining soil.

Although winter dormant, this Salvia is  tough and hardy for a  mixed border or a meadow position during summer.where the root area is protected during the dry months.

When flowering is finished, collect seed and cut down the stems. Clear away old leaves as it finally goes down for winter. Mulch well to keep the crown warm over the cold winter months. In late winter, before the leaves begin to emerge, give the area a good feed and top up the mulch to protect the roots in the hot summer months.

Propagation: is either by seed, sown in early spring or by new basal shoots, appearing in early summer. These usually flower the next season.

 

 

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