Salvia officinalis L.

common sage
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Salvia officinalis
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Salvia officinalis: Appearance of the shrub in full bloom

Appearance of the shrub in full bloomSquare branch with simple, opposite, decussate leavesDetailed view of an inflorescenceTop view of 4 nutlets surrounded by the persistent calyx

Salvia: Ancient Latin name for several species of this genus, derived in turn from the Latin "salvus, -a, -um" = whole, well, possibly referring to its medicinal properties

officinalis, -e: used in pharmacy, medicinal


Habit: Evergreen aromatic subshrub about 0.5 m tall with a woody base and more herbaceous young branches that are square in section and glandular-pubescent.

Leaves: opposite, persistent, petiolate, 2-10 cm long x 1-3 cm wide, simple; blade oblong-lanceolate, crenate, grayish-green above and grayish-white below.

Flowers: hermaphrodite, zygomorphic, hypogynous, with pedicels; arranged in bracted verticillasters on the terminal part of the branches of the current year; calyx pentamerous, gamosepalous, 2-lipped, campanulate; corolla gamopetalous, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 2-lipped, one lip formed by 3 petals and the other longer lip formed by the 2 others, pink, bluish or purple; stamens 2; gynoecium syncarpous, 2-carpellate with a 4-lobed superior ovary and a gynobasic style.

Fruit: dry, indehiscent, formed by 4 nutlets bearing one seed and enclosed in the calyx tube.


It flowers in spring and summer.

Geographic origin

Native to the Balkan Peninsula but naturalized in scattered areas of the Iberian Peninsula.


It is often cultivated as an ornamental and has been used since antiquity as a condiment and a medicinal plant, mainly for its antiseptic and emmenagogue properties.

It is easy to propagate from seeds, cuttings or divisions.

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