Purple Sage

Common Names:
Purple Sage, Desert Sage, Dorr's Sage, Mint Sage, Fleshy Sage
Scientific name:
Salvia dorrii
Subspecies | Variants:
Salvia dorrii var. dorrii, Salvia dorrii var. incana, Salvia dorrii var. pilosa, Salvia dorrii var. clokeyi, Salvia dorrii ssp. mearnsii
Elevation range:
1,575 -10,350 ft
Flowering Months:
May, June, July
Height | Length:
1-2 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
Pollinator or food source for:
Notes:
Pungent scent, Attracts native bees, Attracts butterflies
Ancestral Usage:
medicinal, ritual or tobacco
State Occurrences:
Parks & Preserves:
Desert region:
Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran
Comments: 

Purple Sage was used medicinally by the Kawasiiu, Paiute, Shoshone, Washoe, Hopi and other tribes. It was used to treat colds, influenza, fever, headaches, stomach,aches, pneumonia, gonorrhea, eye problems, and varicose veins.

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Purple Sage  in the desert

Salvia dorrii flowers are subtended by ball-shaped purple bracts. The flowers are a deep lavender-blue and have 2 lips. Stamens have white filaments and orange brown anthers. Pipes Canyon, CA | May 20, 2010

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Purple Sage in the desert

Salvia dorrii is mostly likely the Purple Sage you've heard about in desert lore. Unquestionably one of the most beautiful plants in the Desert Southwest. Note the Paintbrush poking out of the top, indicating it is using the sage for a portion of its nutrients. Mojave National Preserve | April 8, 2014

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Purple Sage in the desert

The ball-like bracts of Salvia dorrii are one of the most noticeable features of this plant.  Pioneertown, CA | May 20, 2010

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Purple Sage in the desert

Salvia dorrii has a pungent but pleasant aroma as is characteristic of its family, Lamiaceae (Mint). Mojave National Preserve | April 2014

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Purple Sage in the desert

White-Lined Sphinx Moth feeding on the nectar of Salvia dorrii. Mojave National Preserve | April 8, 2014

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Purple Sage  in the desert

Leaves of Salvia dorrii are oblanceolate and a distinct, almost shiny grey. It is a woody shrub with many branches and grows to a little over 2 ft. tall. Pipes Canyon, CA | April 2009