Salvia

A wide ranging genus including classic border perennials in the form of S. nemorosa and S. x sylvestris cultivars. But others vary in their needs from the tall moisture loving bog sage to the drought resistant and short lived silver-woolly S. argentea. The genus also includes S. rosmarinus (rosemary), S. officinalis (common sage) and its variants. Salvias are native to all continents, (excluding the Arctic & Antarctic), with over 1000 species and nearly 300 in Mexico alone. Most will require full sun, with some of the shrubbier species enjoying a sheltered garden position

Irrespective of growth form, stature or location, any Salvia in flower will be a busy, buzzy melée of insect activity. Bilaterally symmetrical flowers restrict the range of pollinators to primarily bees, especially bumblebees, the size of which reflects the size of the flowers in each species. In the Americas, hummingbirds are known to pollinate some of the species with longer petal-tubes.  In addition, several species of micromoths use forms of Salvia as their larval food plant. In the autumn, the seed-heads are attractive in their own right, and contain seeds that are food for finches such as goldfinches, while the seed-heads also provide shelter for beneficial predators such as ladybirds, as well as smaller insects and spiders that may be gleaned by wrens.

Salvia is now an expanded genus, with the recent inclusion of Rosmarinus and Perovskia.

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