Southern River Sage

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A low lying ground cover, the Southern River Sage, Salvia misella, sprawls on the ground in a circular mat 3 to 5 feet in diameter.  Height is barely six to eight inches. Elliptic leaves with heavily serrated margins are paired widely apart on multiple square reddish stems. Leaves are about ½ inch in length. Leaves, stems, and flower buds are densely covered in white hairs. The hairs help to retard water loss.

Stems end in a terminal spike with several flower buds.  When a flower bud opens it forms a calyx of five green and hairy sepals. A calyx is an inside out flower bud. The calyx supports a corolla made up of two lips and five lobes. The upper lip has two fused dark blue lobes.  The lower lip has a middle dorsal lobe, dark blue with white markings and two smaller and separated lateral dark blue lobes.  You can use petal in place of lobe.  Between the two lips is a deep white throat with two male stamens that reach out over the dorsal lobe.  The flower is ¼ inch long and 1/8 inch wide.

The Southern River Sage is a member of the Lamiaceae, (Mint) family.  This species is found in wet hammocks in several southern and central Counties. It grows in Florida, the Caribbean and Australia.  This species grows in the hammocks at Koreshan State Park.