€1,75 – €7,00
Native long-lived perennial with purple flowers. Meadow sage is mainly pollinated by bumblebees, but also attracts bees and butterflies. It has healing properties and is used as a spice to flavor beer and wine. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
Polish name: meadow sage
Latin name: Salvia pratensis
Family: the mints Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Status in Poland: native, rare
Medium-sized plant (usually 50 cm, rarely up to 1.0 m), perennial, with a quadrangular stem, double-lipped purple flowers, and a strong root.
It forms two types of shoots:
1) underground, heavily woody rhizomes
2) aboveground, herbaceous stems.
The taproots are thick and grow up to 1 m into the soil. The stems are opposite foliaged, always have strongly glanded top surface, but the hairiness may vary significantly between specimens (from almost bare at the base of the aboveground shoot to strongly tomentosed, with hairs normal at the base of the shoot and stellate at the top).
It produces two types of leaves:
1) basal leaves clustered in a rosette, with long petioles and cordate-ovate blades, strongly crenate at the margins, strongly tomentosed underside and bare on top
2) stem leaves with short petioles or completely devoid of them (sessile), and triangular lanceolate blades.
The flowers grown on ciliated stalks, protected by cordate bracts, are characterized by a strong navy blue or purple color. They are clustered in quasi-whorls forming together quite a large spike. Both the calyx and the corolla of this sage are visibly double-lipped. The calyx takes the shape of a bell with 13 veins, with an upper lip shorter than the lower one, and with three notches, moreover is very hairy (with both types of hair: normal and stellate). Downwardly, the corolla fuses into a tube protruding from the calyx, usually purple, also very tomentosed. The dimensions of the corolla strongly depend on the type of flowers, for bisexuals it will be larger (20-30 mm long), and for females it will be finer (15-25 mm long).
The fruit is a schizocarp typical for sages, which splits into four mericarps. In the case of meadow sage these mericarps are ovate, characterized by a strongly papillary surface, measuring 1.4-1.9 mm in width and 2.0-2.4 mm in length.
Meadow sage prefers sunny and warm places with dry, at most moderately moist, soil. It grows best in permeable soils, rich in calcium carbonate or gypsum, but also quite humus and fertile (such as Ukrainian chernozems and Lesser Poland rendzinas).
It is an important element of many mixtures for urban flower meadows, butterfly gardens, bee pastures or flower margins in orchards.
Meadow sage seeds need completely bare plowed soil to germinate. Specimens that take root in a flower meadow or a butterfly garden usually grow with no problems for many years, with no getting sick, and with self-seeding instead.
Depending on the needs and aesthetic preferences, it is mowed once or twice a year. It can be mowed in spring and autumn, or more often after the fading of the next batch of specimens.
In the old herbal medicine, meadow sage replaced the more potent but more thermophilic, cultivated in the Mediterranean Sea common sage Salvia officinalis.
It was used to clean teeth and even rinse sick eyes (nowadays it is strongly discouraged).
It was an important seasoning to beer, wine and vodka, giving them a pleasant nutmeg aroma and enhancing intoxicating effects.
If the pests had completely destroyed the cabbage, then the sage stem leaves were used to produce cabbage rolls or stews.
Pretty good despite the exceptionally bumblebee flowers. Honey yield up to 190 kg per hectare, mainly nectar-based, with medium pollen productivity.
Meadow sage is often visited not only by bumblebees and honey bees, but also by many solitary bees, especially miner bees, sweat bees, mason bees, and Anthophoras.
Its typically double-lipped and elongated flowers can be pollinated almost exclusively by bumblebees, but honey bees and solitary bees can get nectar by gnawing the sides, especially when the sage grows in a large group and there is a first half of the day.