Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Chapman's Sage - Savia chapmanii

Chapman's sage (Salvia chapmanii) was formerly lumped with S. urticifolia but has since been determined to be separate.  While S. chapmanii flowers in the fall, S. urticifolia blooms in the spring.  It also tends to be noticeably taller. 
This is a very rare species in Florida and classified as state endangered. It only has been vouchered from Jackson, Gadsden, and Alachua Counties in north Florida though it may have been missed in others. It also has been vouchered in Alabama (in three counties) and occurs in a variety of upland habitats - prairies, cedar glades, open hardwood forests, roadsides and rights-of-way.  

This perennial member of the mint family and a widely occurring genus is easily distinguished from other native salvias in Florida by its wide arrow-shaped foliage.  The leaves are opposite on the stem, pubescent, and slightly toothed along the leaf margins as can be seen in these photographs.  Chapman's sage spreads by underground rhizomes.  Though it tends to die back in winter, it reaches a mature height of 3-6 feet by fall.  

As stated above, the flowers are produced in the fall.  They occur in terminal and axillary clusters and also are dotted with noticeable glands and hairs.  The shape of the blooms is typical for the genus and the color is most often a deep purple with a white spot on the lower lip.  Flowers are reported to sometimes be whitish.  Each flower is rather small - about 1/4-1/3 in length.  I suspect that it is visited by much the same type of pollinators that are attracted by S. coccinea and S. lyrata.

I have not personally seen this in its native range.  These photos were taken by my friend, Floyd Griffith and used by permission. 

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