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  • Writer's pictureThe Clayton Farm

California Native, Yes, Please!!!!!

Ran into Salvia mellifera during a walk to Mt. Diablo, I had no idea what it was, I knew it had to be salvia or some sort, (I am a salvia maniac). I love the blossoms, love the heavenly aroma of the leaves, love the shiny, glabrous leaves that seem to be perfect for essential oil exactions. Love it is growing underneath a eucalyptus tree among the crowded, knee-high weeds, love that it had to be a California native. So I picked a couple of cuttings, propagated at home. After going through a couple of pages of salvia images online, realized it is called Salvia mellifera black sage.

Salvia mellifera is a small, highly aromatic, evergreen shrub of the genus Salvia native to California, and Baja California, Mexico. It is common in the coastal sage scrub of Southern California and northern Baja California. Black sage has a dark appearance, especially during drought.

Black sage grows in the coastal sage scrub and lower chaparral plant communities. It occurs from sea level to 1,200 m (3,900 ft) elevation. Black sage is able to grow on a variety of different soils, including sandstone, shale, granite, serpentinite, and gabbro or basalt. It is semi-deciduous, depending on the location and severity of drought, shallow rooted, and drought tolerant by leaf curling rather than drought-avoiding through leaf drop.

The Chumash people used a strong sun tea of the leaves and stems of the plant. This was rubbed on the painful area or used to soak one's feet. The plant contains diterpenoids, such as aethiopinone and ursolic acid, that are pain relievers.

The Black Sage also produces a nectar that Black Sage honey is made from. This honey is typically peppery and strong, and is prized as a rare honey due to the plant's dry climate. Black Sage honey can only be made when specific rain conditions are met and the plant produces enough nectar. #blacksage #californianative #theclaytonfarm #salviamellifera

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