Azure Blue Sage

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The Native Plant Society’s annual conference ended last May with several organized field trips.  Dorothy and I selected to visit Box Tower’s program on seed propagation. It was in the Tower’s propagation building where I found a pot of showy Azure Blue Sage, Salvia azure. It was on a bench waiting to be planted. Azure is a member of the Lamiaceae  (Mint family). Being the wildflower hunter that I am, I took the opportunity to take my pictures.

Azure has erect stems that can reach to 2 to 4 feet in height. Stems are square. Dark green leaves are linear to lanceolate in shape and are joined in pairs along the stems. Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and about ½ inch in width. Margins of the leaves are toothed.

At the tips of the erect stems is the plants’ inflorescence, which is a terminal spike. Azure’s calyx, (an inside out bud) is a long bell shaped tunnel that holds a showy blue corolla. The corolla consists of two lips and five lobes. An upper lip of two fused lobes and a larger three lobe lower lip. This is a structure that is found with most mint species.  The upper lip bends over the tunnel to help push a nectar seeking bee to carry out pollination.

Azure is found in pine flat woods and sand hills in northern and central counties and surprisingly in Lee County but I don’t know where.

 

Dorothy Rodwell