Salvia paramiltiorrhiza

Salvia paramiltiorrhiza

Salvia paramiltiorrhiza: is an Asian low clumping herbaceous perennial 60-80cm H with yellow flowers in late spring and summer.

Salvia paramiltiorrhiza
Salvia paramiltiorrhiza

Salvia paramiltiorrhiza is a Chinese clumping perennial from the forest floor.

Flowers: are pale yellow, falcate style, with a long curved hood with a mauve stigma exerted from the tip. The 2 side lobes are thin and curled right back to open up the throat area. The middle lobe is long and narrow, a paler yellow colour with a purple frill at the end. This frill adds to the cupped position of the lobe, which can hold a drop of moisture for an insect as well as a landing place.

As there are no or little marking around the throat area, this purple frill acts as a beeline, showing bees and insects that the flower is ready to be visited. When the flower has been visited, the frill soon discolours with the  middle lobe  beginning to hang down. This indicates to insects, to go to another flower.

Flowers are held in whorls of single layer of 4-6 flowers  or multiple layers, where some flowers are always open with others still in bud waiting to open. This prolongs the flowering period considerably.

Whorls are facing downwards, so the tube extends outward, allowing the corolla to fully open  the throat area for insects to enter further  into the corolla, at the same time brushing against the anthers and stigma with what ever the insect has already collected.

Inflorescences are a simple panicle, with the flowers held on a green stem in regular intervals to the top. Only 1 or 2 side flower stems may occur, but all stems are held well above the foliage  to attract passing insects. The flower stems can be as long 30cm in mature clumps. These can be seen late spring and during summer.

Calyces: are green, often with coloured tips on exposedsides , slightly hairy along the well formed ribs. Each lobe is flared out to allow the tube to extend as far out as possible. If flowers are not pollinated, they shrivel and fall off, leaving a green flower stem. If pollinated, the calyx will be a brown colour, remaining until the seed drops or is knocked over.

Leaves: from a crowded basal clump. These are a dark green, pinified with usually 5 lobes. Each lobe is oval to cordate, with the end lobe being the largest. Each lobe is thin textured and well veined. Occasionally in a shaded position, the leaves can colour with purple tonings. Leaves can be as long as 20cm with a petiole. These can form large clumps.

Salvia para miltiorrhiza is a  larger plant than the more usual S. miltiorrhiza.

Coming from the forest floor in a woodland setting, it prefers a cool shady position, but can grow  very well in a sunny well protected spot away from hot winds and hot sun, so grows well in dappled sun/ shade situation.

Grow with other woodland small shrubs and perennials that like similar growing conditions. These can form large clumps, making quite a statement  when grown en masse under deciduous trees.

In autumn when the flowers have finished, collect any seed and remove any spent flower stems, old leaves and any debris around the crown. Mulch well with leaf mould and use a marker for the crowns to prevent the dormant plants from accidentally being dug up or trodden upon.

In late winter/ early spring just before the leaves begin to appear, feed well, adding  compost and more leaf mould to keep the roots cool during the hot summer season. Additional water during the dry spells during summer is worthwhile to keep the clumps looking good and healthy.

Propagation: is usually by seed or side slips during summer.

Back to Varieties