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.