This page will contain articles of identification between different / similar species and forms.
Some will be similar looking plants or even similar sounding plant names.
- Involucrata Type Salvias
- Disermas forms
- Gesneriiflora forms
- Long lost Salvia aurea forms of Trudi
- Microphylla forms
- The Mexicana tribe
- Guaranitica and relations
- Big & Small
- Sound alike Salvias
- Heatwave Series
- Beware !'Don't get caught out'
INVOLUCTRATA TYPE SALVIAS
Listing and documenting species and forms of S. involucrata, karwinskii, puberula, wagneriana that we are aware of, followed by any crosses:
- involucrata (the species) – very tall, winter flowering, very long inflorescence (up to 30cm), very large terminal bud initially, although as more flowers open (towards end of its flowering) this becomes quite small of course. Bracts rounded with a long point that ends by curling away from the bud.
- puberula (2 forms) species is a shrub, about 1.5m, flowers earlier than involucrata. Inflorescence is quite short – about 7cm – basically only 1 whorl (?false whorl) and central bud of a dark, dusky pink.
- puberula ‘Pink’ – Meg has another form of a similar height but flowers are larger and a lighter, magenta pink than the species. This originated in Timboon and Meg has labelled the photo in her book as ‘Timboon Pink’ . In future, any reference to Timboon should be avoided, otherwise the plant will be confused with ‘Timboon’ (dark red – nothing like this one
Both S. involucrata and S. karwinskii are tall growing Salvias from South America, both grow extremely well here in Melbourne.
S. involucrata can reach 4-5 m H, but has the growth habit of it’s branches” coming out to greet you” .It begins to flower in late Autumn, and lasts till early Spring.
The flowers are cerise and dense along the flowering stem. Whilst beginning as a small clump, they can expand to a length of 20 cm, approx 10 inch long, all facing upwards on one side of the stem. It has a small involucrote – hence the name ( a lot of bracts holding more flowers). The calyxes are a lovely pink, they also face upwards.
The leaves are a cordate shape, dark, smooth, little veinage and quite pointed at the apex. The leaf stems are often pink.
S. involucrata prefers a sheltered position to grow, whilst it will grow in a sunny position , it grows better if given a shady sheltered position.
S. karwinskii also grows tall about 3.5 – 4m H, not quite as high as S. involucrata, but grows more into a shrub and enjoys a lot more sun. It has a more upright habit, which makes it a large shrub and a good strong grower.
The flowers are a watermelon colour, set in 3 tiers in dense whorls around the stem, so when one tier is finishing, another is just beginning, hence the long flowering time.
S. karwinskii comes into flower late than many others around about July and goes until early Summer, Nov / Dec.
The flowers have a brownish look about them, which are all the coloured hairs on the calyxes, bracts and flower stem. It also retains the flower bracts for a long time, these are curled at the ends, giving the appearance of a small lip.
The leaves are an elongated cordate shape, grey, hairy and the veins are very clear. The underneath is paler with white hairs as well as down the leaf stem and often along the new growth stems.
Both of these plants are very promiscuous and have sired plenty of cultivars.
Among the tall cultivars between S. involucrata & S. karvinskii are :
- ‘Romantic Rose’ a cultivar that has been around for the past 20 yrs.
- ‘Timboon’ a cultivar found by Meg in Timboon
- ‘Floss’ an early cultivar that brought to our attention by Sue, but hasn’t been promoted until now
- ‘Pink Icicles’, a pale pink cultivar
karwinskii Red Form – ‘Red Sprite’
- ‘Romantic Rose’ is a very vigorous, robust Salvia, growing 4-5mH As it has been around for so long, most people will be familiar with the fact that it is so robust, many people have taken it out because of this trait.
It also has watermelon coloured flowers on stems that “ come out to greet you”.
The corollas are fatter, denser and larger than both parents.
The one distinguishing feature is that it's knob is elongated, which makes the flower very
The leaves are a elongated heart shape, large, mid green and mildly hairy and thin .
- ‘Timboon’ is often called ‘Timboon Red’, only because we know it’s not green , blue or yellow , but it should be referred to as only ‘Timboon’.
This is another robust grower but not as much as ‘Romantic Rose’.It grows only 3-4mH with stems that “ come out to greet you”.
S. karwinskii shows as the dominant parent with the leaves also being mildly hairy, darker green but thicker, similar to karwinskii.
The flower is a dense brush of a dark cerise/ crimson , showing only a small knob
‘Timboon flowers slightly late than ‘Romantic Rose’, coming out in July and lasting longer than the former Salvia.
A very handsome shrub, a must for any back ground shrubbery.
- ‘Floss’ looks just like a slender form of S. karwinskii . Although it has thinner stems, it can grow about 3mH with a lax but upright habit , which can form into a large dense shrub.
The flowers along the flower stem are sparse and slender, with only two tiers of flowers to the whorls. The colour of the hairs are more crimson, but the flowers are still a watermelon colour, they also have the little curling lip on the bract around the flower, giving it an elfish look. Although slender, it produces an abundance of flowers during the season, coming into flower about the same time as it’s parent.
The leaves are a broad cordate shape, a light green and coarse. In winter, they colour up beautifully with crimson and brown blotches.
A good specimen is to be seen in the Geelong Botanical Gardens.
- ‘Pink Icicles’ is a very pale form with just a possibility that a gene from S. wagneriana may have something to do with the pale colouring
This very attractive plant grows approx 3mH but with a more angular habit of branching. The stems are straight and smooth.
Flowers are a lovely pale, pale pink, with a large knob which elongates as it grows, the calyxes are a pale pink and face upright all in one direction along the flower stem which can reach15-20 cm.
Leaves are a cordate shape, smooth, dark green and pointed at the apex.
This likes a sheltered position in the garden and makes a wonderful splash of soft pink in the late Autumn /Winter months
- S. karwinskii ‘ Redsprite’ is just like it’s parent in it’s strong upright growth form, growing to at least 3mH, it has greyish leaves but much redder flowers. The flowering stem isn’t as dense as it’s parent, but produces copious number of these red flowers.
- S. karwinskii ‘ Cyclamen ‘ This is a very attractive form of karwinskii, growing to approx 3mH and forming a bushy habit of growth. It has greyish leaves and beautiful long slender cerise flower stems. Another good find, yet to be named .
- ‘Pink Gruyere’ – Meg has a new hybrid in her garden growing 4m high with thick stems like bamboo. A very strong grower. Taller and robust about 3-4m. Similar in leaf to ‘Timboon’, but the flowers are a cerise pink, the corollas are small but have a white throat , the the lower lip small and curled beneath, and compressed laterally. 2 papillae present in base of corolla. The group decided that ‘Gruyere’ was an appropriate name.
Hybrids between involucrata and karvinskii: as we know them including the dwarf forms
- 'Romantic Rose'
- ‘Pink Icicles’
- 'Pink Gruyere'
- ‘Follet’s Folly’ – from Deb Follet’s garden in Queensland, approx 2 -2.5mH – very similar to ‘Mystique but doesn’t flower all year, flowers in autumn/ winter in the Southern States.
- ‘Mulberry Jam’
- ‘Ripe Raspberry’
- ‘Mystique’approx 1.2m H .(? cross with microphylla – found near S microphylla var neurepia in Meg’s garden, and with similar leaf, flowers all year
- ‘Follet’s Folly’ – from Deb Follet’s garden in Queensland, approx 2 -2.5mH – very similar to ‘Mystique but doesn’t flower all year, flowers in autumn/ winter in the Southern States.
Dwarf Forms of Involucrata type Salvias
- 'Bethelii' - This really is a smaller form of S. involucrata, but only growing 1 - 1.2m.The main flowering time is late spring / summer, but will flower through to Autumn.
The flowering stem is much shorter with the corolla's forming a whorl around the stem rather
than along one side. The corolla and calyxes are the same pink colour.
The leaves are a similar shape and texture but slightly smaller than the tall species.
If you can't grow the tall species, then 'Bethelii' is ideal for a smaller garden.
Photos coming soon
S. disermas ( white)
S. disermas ' Slimblade' syn rugosa
S. disermas 'Pale Pink'
S. disermas var compacta syn Broadleaf
S. disermas x 'Purple'
S. disermas x 'Dark Pink'
- Listing and documenting all the forms of Salvia disermas
The problems for the group are that:
- Meg and Lyndi acquired a plant from Graham Ellis years ago, named S. rugosa – a form with relatively narrow leaves, white flowers and a floppy form. Pat and others have a similar plant from a similar era from Sue Templeton, named S. disermas. Lyndi subsequently has a more upright white form with much wider, more indented leaves, acquired with the name ‘disermas’. Reference to the sources reveal that the plant disermas can be very variable in leaf, flower colour and habit. Furthermore, S. disermas is closely related to S. radula – upright and white flowered. ( Some hybridisation ?)
- Forms of Salvia disermas currently in circulation
There have been various plants in circulation locally for some years under the name of S. disermas and/or S. rugosa and information and photographs available on the internet are inadequate to settle our queries. Reference to the Flora of South Africa, vol 8 – Lamiaceae, makes it clear that S. disermas is a very variable species, and that S. rugosa is a synonym for S. disermas. Furthermore, Meg sent herbarium specimens of both the white form of S. disermas and the plant known as S. rugosa to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in 1999 for identification, receiving a reply confirming that these were both forms of S. disermas. This is also confirmed in Betsy Clebsch’s book. It was agreed therefore that the name ‘rugosa’ should be discontinued.
The group examined the 6 plants available and made the following observations:
- Form 1 – plant acquired by Graham and Velda Ellis by seed from Silverhill in 1993
Shrub to 1m, upright (the image in Betsy Clebsch resembles this plant form.
Leaves grey, very triangular in outline, but biserrate / lobulate margins, 50 – 60mm long, by 40mm at the base, petioles 30mm near base, becoming smaller higher up the plant to sessile at the base of the inflorescence, hairy on both surfaces, less pronounced on upper surface, and prominent on veins on lower surface especially (Fig. 1
Stem, green and hairy
Inflorescence: 200mm, verticils of 6 flowers, 20mm apart, persistent bracts, acuminate (Fig. 2)
Calyx ribbed, very hairy and sticky, 6/7mm in length, full with seed, 2 fine points at tip of upper lip, points at tip of lower lip longer
nflorescence: Corolla 15mm long, white. Upper lip hooded on emergence from the calyx, hood - 8mm, tubular within the calyx, lower lip with cupped median lobe
Stigma white and exserted
Stamens also exserted
Summary: A good garden plant. Refer to as Salvia disermas.
A more lax plant, reaching a max of 60cm. Pat has a plant of this form acquired as S. disermas, others have a similar plant acquired as S. rugosa. The image of S. disermas, in Christian Froissart’s book, resembles this plant.
Leaves; light green, oblong lanceolate, rugose, 60 - 80mm by 25 - 35mm, margins biserrate/lobulate, very short hairs on upper surface, longer on lower surface, especially on veins. Oil glands on both surfaces (Fig. 3)
Stem: very hairy
Inflorescence: 70mm, 5 verticils of 6 flowers, 30mm apart, spaced evenly
Bracts: wide, persistent, acuminate (Fig 4)
Calyx: fat with seed, ribbed, 12mm long, laterally compressed towards opening, 3 tiny points at tip of upper lip, 2 longer points to lower lip,
Pedicel: v short, 1mm
Corolla: white, with tinge of pink on hood. Slightly larger than in Form 1. hood 9mm, tube within calyx also 9mm, lower lip 4mm
Summary: Refer to S. disermas 'Slim Blade'
This pale pink form was sold in Australia as S. eigii for some time. It begins as a clumping form, and then the stems fall over. Annette Wright acquired seed of S. disermas from Silverhill, resulting in this form
Leaves: thin texture,, not rugose, triangular, 120 -140mm long, by 80 – 100mm wide at the base. Margins lobulate. Upper surface has small groups of short hairs and glands, lower surface also has fewer hairs than in Form 1. Hairs not uniform in length.
Petiole long – 100mm – sessile at base of inflorescence (Fig. 5)
Inflorescence:150 – 160mm, verticils of 6 flowers spaced at 40 -50mm intervals, getting closer towards the top (Fig. 6)
Corolla: soft pink, larger than other forms. 20 -25mm in total, hood 10 -11mm, lower lip 5 – 6 mm, whitish, median lobe markedly cupped, prominent lateral lobes ”rolled”
Stigma: pink, exserted
Stamens: not exserted
Bracts: large, persistent, wide, acuminate
Calyx: green, very hairy, sticky with oil glands, ribbed. 3 points at tip of upper lip, 2 on lower lip
Summary: in spite of tendency to flop, a good garden plant to fill a space. Good in shade or sun, frost tolerant. Best to replace periodically, as it can become woody at base.
Refer to as Salvia disermas ‘Pale Pink’
Small shrub at Geelong Botanical Gardens (origin unknown to this group)
Leaves: mid green, deltoid/cordate, with blunt tip. Both surfaces rugose, hairy, glandular (Fig. 8)
Petiole: 40mm – also hairy and glandular
Inflorescence: 150(+) mm, verticils spaced at 40mm, getting closer towards top, lower verticils on a 100mm pedicel, containing only 3 flowers
Corolla: white, 18 0 20 mm in total length, hood 8 – 10mm
Stigma exserted, white
Bract: at base of inflorescence Large: 15mm long by 10mm wide (Fig. 9)
Calyx: prominent ribs, very hairy and glandular, 12mm, laterally compressed towards end, upper lip turning upwards, 2 points at tip. Lower lip with 2 points
Summary: a more compact plant – 40 – 60mm high, but useful because it is white. Refer to as: Salvia disermas var compacta
A very tall plant with small purple (mauve) flowers, of unknown origin. Possibly a cutting from a seedling at the old garden at Nobelius about 8 years ago
Leaves: oblong/lanceolate, margins biserrate/lobulate, rugose, lower surface very hairy and slightly glandular, but not sticky. Smells a bit like disermas.
Petiole: very hairy, 40mm at lower leaves to sessile at base of inflorescence.
Stem: very hairy (white hairs) but coloured in the lower part.
Inflorescence: branched, very long – 630mm, inter-verticil spacing 50mm, getting smaller towards the top
Corolla: upper lip very hooded, light mauve
Lower lip darker – purple, with cupped median lobe. Small – total length 11mm (hood 5mm), lower lip 5mm, with paler bee-line markings
Bract at base of inflorescence: large, crenate and very acuminate
Bracteoles to verticils persistent (Fig. 10)
Calyx: colouring on upper surface. Very ribbed, 8 – 9mm, 3 points to upper lip, hairy, glandular, 2 points to lower lip very long and prominent
Summary: flowers very small, barely open. Inflorescence very long .
Question: could this be a hybrid? Doesn’t seem to set seed. Possibly a cross with Salvia verbenaca?
Refer to as Salvia disermas x ‘Purple’
A bit like the plant described above, but upright, less tall and flowers dark pink.
Leaves: lanceolate/cordate, margins biserrate/lobulate, 100mm long by 60mm wide. Rugose, but soft and velvety underneath. Minute glands.
Petiole: 60mm, sessile at base of inflorescence
Stem: hairy, coloured up to branching inflorescence
Inflorescence: stem green and hairy, strong, upright, 480mm, verticils spaced evenly at 40mm
Corolla: hood deep pink, lower lip paler pink with purple bee-line markings. 18 -20mm long, with hood 8mm are hairy. Lower lip 5-6mm, cupped median lobe.
Stigma pink, barely exserted
Stamens white, not exserted
Bract at base of inflorescence: 50mm long, 40mm wide and very acuminate
Calyx: green, hairy, glandular, ribbed, 3 points on upper lip, 2 on lower lip, also less pointed
Summary: a good, garden-worthy plant, with strong upright stems and not too tall. Refer to as: Salvia disermas x ‘Dark Pink’
Photos coming soon
In Victoria we have:
- S. gesneriiflora – the species – tall to 3-4mH, flowering from winter through to Christmas (depending on when you cut it back). Long red flowers and green calyces
- S. gesneriiflora ‘Tequila’ as above but can wind itself through other shrubs with near black calyces. Technically this is not the true ‘Tequila’. It wasn’t imported as such. It originated as a seedling at Sue Templeton’s and she sold it as S. gesneriiflora ‘Black Calyx’, but others saw it, compared it with the picture in Betsy Clebsch’s book and slapped the name, ‘Tequila’ on it
- S, gesneriiflora 'Red Rambler'. This ia an upright shrub with a sentinal growth shape. found in Meg's garden.
- Flowers are red but have a luminescence about them, the calyx is a brown colour. Flowering late Spring ( around November)
- S. gesneriiflora' Pink Parfait' - An upright shrub to 3mH with a sentinal habit of growth.
- Flowers are a light pink / colour with a green calyx. Originating in Tasmania
- S. gesneriiflora 'Coral Delight' Another upright shrub to 3mH with a dense sentinal habit.
- Flowers are a good coral colour. Originating in Meg's garden.
- S. gesneriiflora / fulgens etc there are similarities and differences between these 2 genera. S. fulgens (syn cardinalis – recognised as a form of) is characterised by the presence of 2 papillae at the base of the corolla tube, the inside of the corolla tube otherwise being clear and smooth apart from a pair of tiny staminodes half way along, and bracts that are twice the size of those of S.gesneriiflora . S. gesneriiflora presents no papillae, there are striations inside the corolla tube and its calyces are larger than those of S. fulgens
- S. ‘Red Dragon’ – a form of S. fulgens – origin New Zealand – with a very hairy corolla and very large bracts that drop off
- There are other forms of S. fulgens floating around. Pat was given one. It looks very like a diminutive form of S. gesneriiflora, and while hairier than S. gesneriiflora, it lacks the all important papillae
- We think there are other forms of fulgens out there but have no details.
The Long Lost Salvia aurea’s of Trudi
Finally we have found and named the long lost Salvia aurea’s from Trudi’s garden. After being closeted for so long, she has finally given up her secrets about all the wonderful forms of Salvia aurea that have been growing in and about her garden for the past 20 years!!
What we found was 4 distinct forms which Meg and I named with Trudi’s approval and 1 form which is still being investigated, which if the colour form proves to be sustainable will be added to the list at a later date.
These forms are:
S. aurea – the original form , a dense spreading shrub approx 2 x 2-3m, large round leaves, green / greenish grey / grey. Flowers are huge, a lovely bright terracotta colour with the base of the stamens being a bluish colour. The calayx is vase shaped and very colourful, the lips can seem almost black in some lights, but a mainly dark burgundy/ brown colour.
S aurea ‘BookLeaf’ – a very compact shrub, approx 80 x 80cm – 1m. the leaves are smaller, slightly wavey with a tight formation of growth and grey / green in colour. Flowers are smaller but still large and have a softer terracotta colour. Calayx is greenish with coloured lips, almost looking like a pair of lips.
S. aurea ‘ Green Ginger’ – a more open upright shrub, approx 80 -1m x 80cm -1m. Leaves are small oval to round, greenish / grey and cloth the stems well. Flowers are large and a bright terracotta colour. The calayx is the main feature for this shrub, being a vivid bright green, making a wonderful contrast with the terracotta colour of the flowers. The calayx remain that colour for some time after the flower has dropped.
S. aurea 'Silver Lady’ – a dense shrub with horizontal layering branches, approx 1.2 x 1.2 – 1.5m. Silver leaves are the main attraction, with pointed ends and lots of new growth along the stems. Flowers are a dark terracotta colour, contrasting beautifully with the silver leaves, making quite a spectacle. The calayx is coloured green and brown.
Another S. aurea which is available is the prostrate form, known as S. aurea prostrate. This possibly originated from the ‘Lady’ form having silver leaves but only grows to approx 30 x 40 -50 cms
All the forms of S. aurea that have been growing in Trudi’s garden have been closely monitored during those years.
Meg first started tagging these forms in 2002, finally all that close work has finally come to fruition
S. aurea prostrate
S.aurea 'Green Ginger'
S.aurea 'Silver Lady'
Salvia microphylla forms
How to tell the difference between a Salvia microphylla and a Salvia greggii,
While the flowers of both species are similar, the leaves of a S. greggii are narrow, smooth-edged no notches and with smooth mat surfaces, veins not evident, the stem well clothed, all branches come from a single stem. The leaves of S. microphylla, on the other hand, arelarger, often more heart-shaped, veins easily seen, shiny surface and toothed edges.
Those of S.x jamensis are somewhere in between, often showing a long thinish leave that looks like a greggii. This shows that the plant has a greggii dominant parent, often there will be one or two notches telling that it is a X. The surfaces are usually shiny..
Another distinguishing feature is the presence of a pair of papillae (2 tiny finger-like growths) inside the base of the corolla tube of S. microphylla, and generally in any offspring with this as a parent, but not present in S. greggii. Furthermore, most forms of S. microphylla are taller than those of S. greggii, ( S. greggii grows from one stem) and S. microphylla may have a tendency to spread from underground shoots almost to the point of nuisance value in the case of S. microphylla ‘Cyclamen’, ‘Pink Blush’ and ’Musk’, these are generally more robust forms.
Salvia microphylla varieties include:
S. microphylla var microphylla
S. microphylla var neurepia (syn Grahamii)
S. microphylla var wislizenii
Salvia 'Baby Sage'
S. x jamensis
The earliest description of S. microphylla was made by a botanist named Kunth in the early 19th century. Then in 1939, Epling published a comprehensive work on the Salvia species of the new world in which he describes S. microphylla as displaying considerable variation, especially in the foliage, as though the species was in the process of evolving into possibly three geographical races. Adding to the confusion are the various other names that have been thrown into the ring: S. grahami in the USA, as S. microphylla was named by Bentham, S. neurepia by Fernald, and then S. microphylla var wislizenii, named by Gray, as well as a few more synonyms.
By going with the ruling that the first recorded name and description is the one that stays, we decided to stick with the findings of James Compton in a 1994 publication (1) whereby the species consists of type and two varieties as follows:
Salvia microphylla var microphylla (the type): leaves generally less than 2.5cm long, ovate or elliptic, with an acute or obtuse apex. This plant grows to about 1.2m, becomes a bit woody and spreads readily. The red flowers, smaller than those of the variety below) show two small papillae in the base of the corolla. Flowers opposite, in pairs on elongating racemes 10 – 20cm long. The plants we have came from Judi Forrester of Otway Herbs, brought in to Australia by seed from NW Seeds, Arizona.
Salvia microphylla var neurepia :syn S. grahamii , the are leaves larger – up to 5cm long, elliptic, apex obtuse or acute. This is the form that was widely called Graham’s Sage in horticulture in the USA, and consequently here too, as it has been around in gardens for many decades.
Salvia microphylla var wislizenii : this form has the most stable characters, deltoid, acuminate or acute leaves, narrow caudate bracts and more congested inflorescences, with flowers more red/magenta than the others. This form does not spread and it tends to lose its leaves in winter in cold districts, but may keep it’s leaves in warmer suburbs. This is almost certainly synonymous with Salvia lemmonii, named in 1886 by Gray, who later decided it was a variety of S. microphylla after all. James Compton thinks it not significantly different enough to warrant its own specific rank, but that it should probably be elevated to subspecies status (Note: sub species rank applies to variations due to geography; in this case, the western Sierra Madre in Mexico and Arizona) The plants we have come from seed of S. lemmonii.
Salvia ‘Baby Sage’.
More confusion here, because this appears on some internet sites as synonymous with S. microphylla. It appears to be a form of S. microphylla, from its leaf shape and the presence of pronounced papillae at the base of the corolla tube and its spreading habit, but everything about the plant is small. The leaves are generally less than 20mm long. The flowers are smaller (15mm), a watermelon red, with the bottom lip cupped, but not deeply indented. Our plants all originated from one bought from Phil Bear in Olinda in the early 1990s. This is a mystery one. Its smaller leaves are a good fit with the botanical name, “micro-phylla” (small leaves), but the original descriptions of the type species have larger leaves than this!
Forms similar to ’Baby Sage’ that have appeared on the market that have clearly been derived from ‘Baby Sage’ as a parent are ‘Miss Scarlett’ – everything about this plant is similar, in size from the leaves to the flowers. What sets this apart is that ‘Miss Scarlett’ grows taller, has redder flowers and shows the typical striping down the stems – but when young and with out flowers, this hybrid can be mistaken for ’Baby Sage’
There are so many cultivars available in Australia, involving S. microphylla as a parent: ‘Cyclamen’, ‘Cerise’, ‘Hot Lips’, Huntington’, ‘Margaret Arnold’, ‘Maraschino’, ‘Martine’, ‘Musk Pink’, ‘Pink Blush’, ‘Red’, ‘San Carlos Festival’, some of the ‘Heatwave’ series, ‘Sweet Laura’ – the list is endless – but one more plant that deserves a mention is the rather different,
The pictures below, from Meg’s book, show some types of S. microphylla.
Pat Anderson, Meg Bentley, Lyndi Garnett
17 May 2012
Compton, J. 1994: Mexican Salvias in Cultivation. The Plantsman, vol 15, pp200 – 205
Epling, C. 1939: A Revision of the Subgenus Calosphace, Beihefte 110, Fedde Repertorium Spec.Nov
Lumley, P. & Spencer, R. 1991: Plant Names: A guide to Botanical Nomenclature, RBG, Mmelbourne
Clebsch, B. 2003: A new Book of Salvias, pp 192 - 196
Froissart, C. 2008: La Connnaissance des Sauges, pp 185-186
THE MEXICAN TRIBE
S. mexicana major
S. mexicana 'Limelight'
S. mexicana 'Limelight Dwarf'
S. mexicana 'Lolly'
S. mexicanan minor
S. mexicana 'Snow flake'
S. mexicana 'Bill Whitehead'
S. mexicana 'Kieren'
The mexicana tribe of Salvias are an interesting and very distinctive group of shrubs.
Most are large rounded, bushy shrubs growing to about 2.5 - 3m H, and having a good spread of
about 2m wide, some are smaller, but most have a spreading habit except 'Snow flake' which has an upright habit.
They have very distinctive leaves, all having a wide almost squashed heart shaped leaf. Often the base is oblique ( one side of the leaf is longer than the other). They usually have very long leaf stems and the veination is very distinct
The growth habit is the flower stem appears in the middle of two side shoots. These can often be at odd angles and not always carry a growing shoot, but rather a stem of leaves and flowers.
They are among the earliest of the Autumn Salvias to flower. They produce some of the most wonderful flowers with interesting coloured calyxes.. All have the same blue corolla with a hint of mauve, except ( 'Snowflake') but many have different coloured calyxes.
When in bud, the unopened calyx looks crimped together. The bud doesn't seem to be in the nodding position as in many other large Salvias, but rather grows from between two side shoots and two large leaves.
- major - this is a bushy rounded shrub approx 2.5 -3m x 2m, possibly the largest of the tribe. Leaves are a good mid green, broad cordate shape with a thin texture. Veins are readily visible. Flowers : it has a green flower stem and calyx, quite compact with blue corollas with a hint of mauve. The calyx is crimped at the end before it opens to long tubular flowers.
S. m. major flowers in Autumn, not as early as 'Limelight'
It is frost tender, needing some protection in the winter with other shrubs or under deciduous
trees. Although it likes a sunny position, it does need shelter from hot winds in summer.
A good background shrub or filler shrub between trees.
- 'Limelight' - This is the earliest of all the winter flowering salvias, flowering in early Autumn, as early as late April / May..
Growing to 2 - 2.5m x 2.5m - an open shrub with large squashed green / grey cordate
leaves, with long leaf stems
New growth has a whitish look about it.
Flower heads are compact, the calyxes are a light green with the blue/ mauve corolla,
making a wonderful contrast. The shrub is very floriferous and flowers for quite a long time,
lasting approx. a month.
The little Spine bill honey eaters love this shrub. It is frost tender and needs protection.
Grow this shrub in a sheltered, sunny, semi shades position. It also needs shelter from
hot winds in summer and a little water on hot days.
- 'Limelight' Dwarf - This is exactly the same as it's parent but smaller, same flower heads, same leaves, but growing to about 1.5m. - good filler shrub.
- 'Lolly' - This is a smaller shrub than the other mexicana's, growing approx 1.2 - 1.5m, again an upright shrubby shrub with dark green, shiny, cordate leaves with the typical veination,
and long leaf stems.
Again the flower stems appear between two side shoots.
Flowering in late Autumn / Winter, the flower heads are dense spikes, same blue corollas
with a hint of mauve, but the calyxes are dark, almost black - a wonderful contrast.
Frost tender - a warm sunny / semi shaded , sheltered position. Can set seed
A smaller shrub as a background to roses or a smaller golden foliaged shrub.
- minor - A smaller shrub in all aspects. Growing to approx. 1 - 1.2m H, it grows upright with an open habit.
Leaves are smaller, dark green and cordate with a very pointed apex, with long leaf stems
Flower heads are compact and smaller in length. Calyxes are a mottled green/ black with
the typical blue /mauve corolla.
A good small shrub under deciduous trees, where it is protected from frosts and heat in
- 'Bill Whitehead' - an upright shrub growing to approx. 2 x 1.5m. This is a good compact dense shrub, possibly the progeny of M. minor.
Flower heads are large, long and dense, the calyxes are a dark mottled colour, similar to
M. minor but larger and denser. The corolla is a little darker than normal
Leaves are cordate but more of a normal green than the other forms, also showing the
normal veination style and long leaf stems.
This Salvia was named for our oldest member Bill Whitehead ( 96) - a fitting contribute to
the person who helped to bring us all together 24yrs ago to begin to collect and grow
- 'Kieren' - this is a new mexicana form, brought in via Qld, it is an upright form with dark greenish / grey leaves. Flowers are a paler blue/ mauve.
Frost tender, so needs protection from frost and the summer heat.
Photos coming soon
The Heatwave Series was developed by PGS Nursery over a few years. All are microphylla hybrids bred for their drought resistance and their toughness in the harsh summer conditions and their ability to for non stop through out the year.
All plants have PBR labels - No one can propagate and sell these plants without a licence
The first of the series was:
'Scorcher', 'Sizzler', 'Flare' and 'Blaze'
'Scorcher' - is the only one that has been taken off the PBR listing as it was too similar to 'Sizzler'.
This is a great small compact shrub, growing approx 40 - 60 cm H x 60cm . The leaves are a typical microphylla leaf - showing the veins easily and have a blue hue them.
Flowers are a good baby pink with a blue hue to them as well - very floriferous, flowering all year.
These qualities are the major difference with 'Sizzler', which is extremely similar.
New growth is fairly basal, so it makes pruning easy , by cutting down to basal shoots.
'Sizzler' - Extremely similar to 'Scorcher' but without the blue hue to the leaves and flowers, making the flowers seem a more vibrant baby pink - same height and width and basal growth.
'Flare' - Another similar pink Salvia, but the pink is brighter, more vibrant. Leaves again are similar in colour, size and shape as wella s a similar height.
'Blaze' - A magnificent dark crimson flowering Salvia, again a similar size, leaf shape and growth habit, but a beautiful dark crimson red flower.
The second series to be produced were again purposely bred microphylla's, all sun loving Salvias, these were:
'Blast', 'Glimmer', 'Glitter and 'Sparkle'
'Blast' - This is a small compact shrub growing 40 - 60 cm with peachy / pink flowers, this can also set seed. Very floriferous, flowering most of the year.
'Glimmer' - Is a very elegant shrub, growing to 60cm, producing beautiful cream flowers with a touch of purple on the tube, that and a dark flower stem, makes this truly stunning.
'Glitter' - This is another small shrub to 40cm, but producing an electric mauve / pink flower which stands out beautifully against other white flowers. It has an iridescent quality about the flower.
Many people who enjoy mauve flowers love this colour.
'Sparkle'- Another good compact Salvia, growing 40 -60 cm with vibrant pink flowers, almost a hot pink colour. Leaves are more rounded than the others and a darker green.
The latest offering from PGA were 2 more microphylla style Salvias last summer.
These were :
'Glare' & 'Glow'
'Glare' - is a good compact small white shrub, a good head of white flowers and light rounded green leaves.. Good between Roses and in front of other taller perennials.
'Glow' - is a lovely compact shrub with lovely apricot flowers, that have a tinge of cream and a tinge of pink. It goes well with most other colours in the Salvia range of plants.
Guaranitica - 'Blue Enigma ' has been used
'Black n' Blue'
Salvia guaranitica is one of the earliest Salvias we came across and like everything in the beginning , we collected, propagated and promoted everything we could get our hands on. We soon learnt about S. guaranitca the hard way - that it has tubers and will not only walk but run if the soil around it's base is disturbed.
The only way we were going to grow it was in a bottomless pot where it wouldn't escape. If it was planted in a garden and began to walk, then it had to be dug out and destroyed - all little bits will grow. It's perfect for planting out large areas, but definitely not for a small garden.
The name 'Blue Enigma' was used for a time thinking that it was the same as the variety growing in the U.K., but the name was eventually dropped due to uncertainty.
All guaranitica's have a tuber. - they are herbaceous ( going down for winter) - they have green, thin, hairy stems that are very rigidly upright, even when blown over, the new growth grows straight up. Growing to approx 1 - 1.2m H
The leaves have a thin texture with a certain type of veinage and are a good mid green.
Calyxes are green, but can be slightly coloured blue. Flowers have a beautiful bright blue tubular
corolla which contrasts beautifully with the green of the calyx or green leaves. Flowers all face in one direction - not showing all around the flower stem.
'Black n ' Blue'- This is a smaller variety, growing to approx 80cm- 1m H
Leaves are a lovely shiny dark green and veins quite evident. It has the typical growth habit, of being very upright, but being smaller, seems more bushier than it's parent.
Apart form producing tubers, this produces insidious roots that seem to travel very quickly in every direction.
Flowers are an intense blue, made more intense by the very dark blue/ black calyxes.The flower heads are about the same size as the parent - this makes the flowers look wonderful - long flower heads on short stems - very appealing.
'Argentine Skies' - A very interesting flower colour. Growing to normal height of 1 - 1.2mH, it has shiny lighter green leaves and green calyxes, but produces a beautiful faded sky blue colour corolla - very fetching as a bank of colour.
The growth habit is the same as above.
There are a number of x's where S. guaranitica has crossed with ? to make the progeny perennial
such crosses are :
' Violet Eyes'
'Purple Majesty' - A shrubby open plant, growing to approx 1mH.
- plant perennial
- plant beginning to branch more freely
- no tuber or insidious roots
- calyx is a dark purple with white and green markings beneath
- flowers - the flower head is about the same size and shape - all the flowers facing in one direction
- corolla is a dark purple.
- It has been suggested that guaranitica has crossed with S. gesneriiflora to produce the dark purple colouring in the calyx and the corolla
This is often mistaken for 'Black Knight'. If 'Black Knight is too large for your garden, then 'Purple Majesty is an alternative.
'Violet Eyes' - A tall upright perennial plant 1.5 - 2mH
- plant perennial
- taller than the parent
- same or similar growth habit as parent.
- no tuber or insidious roots
- calyx is green
- flowers - flower head is the same size and shape - all flowers facing the came direction,
- corolla is a clear violet purple - beautiful contrast with the green calyx.
Again, guaranitica has crossed with a red Salvia to produce the beautiful violet flowers, but in this case guaranitica is the more dominant parent.
It has been suggested that guaranitica has crossed with a shrubby perennial Salvia - a larger blue or red Salvia to produce 'Blue Tequila' syn 'Large form of guaranitica' - growing to 2mH
guaranitica may be a direct parent or a grand parent of this plant.
- plant beginning to produce shrubby appearance with lateral branches spreading out more.
- stem becoming woody, non hairy and although still narrow, wider than guaranitica
-leaves, a darker green, the same veination and thin texture but hairier with larger crenations along the edges.
-calyxes are a mixture of green and dark blue
- corolla is a similar tubular intense blue/ mauve. The flower head is similar, but the flowers are appearing all the way around the stem
This is known as S. 'Tequila Blue' NOT guaranitica 'Tequila Blue'. It is definitely not a guaranitica
but you can see the line of decent
'Costa Rican Blue'
It is not know who the parents of 'Costs Rican Blue' are, but it has been suggested that 'Tequila Blue' may have been a parent or a grandparent
'Tequila Blue' x ? a larger blue or red Salvia- to produce the darkness of the calyx and the blue /hint of mauve corolla. What is out there that we don't know about?
It has also been suggested that such a parent might have been S. gesneriiflora 'Tequila'. There are a lot of similarities between the two.
- both are large shrubby plants
- both produce very large woody stems, that don't readily produce shoots at the base.
- both have developed a growth habit that twist and turn to avoid obstacles
- both have similar hairy green leaves, 'Costa Rican Blue' a little darker and slightly thinner in texture with wider crenulations along the edges. gesneriiflora 'Tequila' has a slightly lighter mid green leaf and hairier, the veins are not as evident.
- both have a similar bud formation - drooping down before finally straightening out.
- both have similar sized tubular corollas, calyx shape and hairiness is similar
- both have very dark coloured hairs on the calyx to give each the distinctive, but similar colouring.
- both produce flowers all around the stem
- both flower on and off throughout the year, with the main flowering period being late winter
It is the habit of growth , the woody stems and the flower formation that give the clues. No other Salvia have these qualities in this manner, that we know of.
We will never know who has come from whom unless DNA tested, then we might be all very surprised.
Known only as 'Costa Rican Blue' NOT guaranitica 'Costa Rican Blue'
guaranitica may have been a grand parent or a great grandparent, but is too far removed to be direct influence.
SOUND ALIKE SALVIAS
As with so many similar sounding plant names, Salvias are not immune to being mixed up with one another. There are many, many similar sounding Salvia names. Some people have a fixation with some names, while others may not hear the names correctly, hence a lot of confusion with the maze of similar sounding names, especially with so many having similar endings and beginnings of names.
Such names as :confertiflora, curtiflora and curviflora – muirii and muelleri – sinaloensis and coahulensis – lavandulifolia and lavanduloides, 'Raspberry Royale', 'Raspberry’ and 'Ripe Raspberry', dolimitica and dominica, 'Blue bird' and 'Blue Cloud', aurea and aurita,( aurita var galpinnii), tubifera and tubiflora, sonomensis and somalensis , 'Marachino' ,Cherry and 'Marachino Cherry', coccinea bicolor and greggii bicolor, longistyla and longispictata, purpurea and purberula, 'African Sky' and 'Argentine Skies', 'Meigan's Magic' and 'Magenta Magic', 'Mystic Spires' and 'Indigo Spire', microphylla and macrophylla, repens and reptans, virgata, viscosa and villosa, canescens and cyanescens, . With so many similar sounding names, it's no wonder that people get confused.
Much of this confusion with similar names is dissipated when you know your Salvia, unfortunately it is often a case of “growing the Salvia to know the Salvia”.
To sort out some of these names, I'll briefly describe them which will help separate each one.
- confertiflora – a slender shrub approx 1.5 – 2m, with long orange spikes.
- curtiflora – a tall shrub, 2-2.5m with small burgundy flower spikes, that grows better in a shady sheltered position.
- curviflora – a compact upright shrub, 1.2 – 1.5m with masses of cerise tubular flowers, each slightly curved.
- muirii – a small shrub, 40 – 60 cm with very small grey leaves, often used as a hedge with sky blue flowers with a large white bee line down it's lower lip
- muelleri – a spreading perennial to 40cm, with wavy leaves and violet flowers.
- sinaloensis – another small densely spreading perennial to 20cm, the dark pointed leaves often colour to burgundy in Autumn. Flowers are a bright blue – It can be herbaceous during the colder months.
- coahulensis – a small spreading perennial to 15cm with bright green leaves, often mistaken for a greggii type Salvia. Flowers are a dark blue purple .
- lavandulifolia – a small shrub 20 – 30 cm with small thin grey leaves – S.officinalis in a miniature form. It has compact growth with mauve / blue flowers and is equally difficult to keep during the colder months.
- lavanduloides – a midsized shrub, 1 – 1.2m, with open and upright growth, leaves are long and dark green. Flowers look like grape hyacinth type flowers – small blue /mauve in compact heads .
- 'Raspberry Royale' (greggii) a small shrub to 40cm, greggii shaped leaves, flowers are a raspberry pink with a dark coloured flowering stem and calyx.
- 'Raspberry' - (a little known Salvia) a small microphylla / greggii cross, to 40cm, leaves are microphylla shaped. Flowers are a similar raspberry colour with the same coloured flower stem and calyx.
- -'Ripe Raspberry' – a midsized Salvia to 1.2m, often confused with 'Joan'. Leaves are a darker green and slightly hairy. Flowers are a darker wine colour.
- dolomitica – a midsized perennial to 1m with a wonderful medicinal aroma, grey leaves and light pink flowers in spring/ summer.
- dominica – a small midsized Salvia to 1m with strongly aromatic hairy hastate leaves, with creamy white flowers in delicate airy whorls
- 'Blue Cloud' – is an upright mid sized perennial to 1.2m. Leaves are lanceolate, often colouring to a dark green with purple overtones. Flowers are a sky blue spike, looking like a blue cloud. This Salvia can spread .
- 'Blue Bird' – is a tall upright Salvia to 3m. Leaves are large and cordate, flowers are a dense brush of pale blue small flowers, high above the shrub.
- 'Blue Abyss' – a shrub to 1m, very similar to ' Anthony Parker', but with a coloured stem and bluer flowers.
- 'Blue Ribbon' – a form of S. urica, but with bluer flowers to 1m. The lower lip tends to be cupped rather than normally hanging down.
- 'Christine Yeo' – a low sprawling spreading perennial to 40cm with small rugose cordate leaves and pink / mauve flowers.
- 'Christine's Surprise' – a strong growing upright perennial to 1m, showing the distinctive stripe along the stem. Small cordate leaves and cerise flowers, a profuse and long flowering period.
- somalensis – an upright stiff perennial to 1.2 m from Sth Africa with bright long green leaves and big spikes of pale blue flowers.
- sonomensis – a low spreading perennial from California to 30cm. The leathery obovate leaves are aromatic, with lavander / blue flowers in many whorls around the stem.
- tubifera – a tall upright shrub, to 2m with large cordate leaves and pink/ red flowers, flowering in Autumn – Spring.
- tubiflora – is a low bushy shrub to 50cm with broad soft hairy grey / green leaves and thin long tubular, bright red vermillion flowers with the stamens protruding. The flower buds are hairy, terminal and have a tight formation.
- longispicata – a robust bushy shrub to 2.5m,with large dark green cordate leaves on long stems and a profusion of pale blue flower spikes.
- longistyla - a bushy upright shrub to 2m, cordate leaves with long tapering tips. Flowering in winter, producing long spikes of long narrow green calyxes and long narrow dull red flowers.
- 'Mystic Spires' – This is the dwarf form of 'Indigo Spires'.The leaves are exactly the same, but grown hard in full sun and it will remain dwarfed.
- 'Indigo Spires' -A mid sized lanky shrub, that should be grown among other shrubs to keep it's structure.
- microphylla – these are small shrubs, 40 – 60cm, with often a spreading habit. Flowers are often brightly coloured in reds and pinks.
- macrophylla – is a midsized shrub, to 1.5m. Leaves are large and ovate, Flowers are true blue, with sticky stems, calyx and seed capsules.
- 'Marachino' is actually microphylla 'Marachino'- this is a bushy shrub to 1m, extremely similar to microphylla 'Cerise', but the flowers stay that beautiful crimson with dark flower stems and calyxes.
- 'Marachino Cherry' – is the same as above
- 'Cherry' – is a small shrub to 40cm with greggii type leaves. Flowers are a bright post box red colour.
- repens – a groundcover from Sth Africa, forming a rossette with long lobed , bright green and tough leaves. Flowers are sky blue with a large bee line on the lower lip.
- reptans – a hardy perennial to 60cm, with dark bluish long thin leaves, in clusters around the stems. Flowers are a mid blue and very small, but a large flared lower lip.
- 'Greek Sage' – is S. fruticosa, a tough shrub to 60-80cm, with velvety trilobed leaves and pale pink flowers.
- 'Greek Skies' – a tough shrub to 60cm with pointy rugose leaves and pink / mauve flowers. This is a cross x between S. officinalis and S. fruticosa.
- greggii bicolor - a small sprawling shrub to 40cm, small greggii leaves with a bicolor flower of cream and pink together – beautiful
- coccinea bicolor - a small upright bushy shrub, cordate hairy leaves, flowers are semi tubular, with the hood being almost white / light pink and the lower lip being a brighter coral pink.
- 'Argentine Skies' (guaranitica) – an upright herbaceous perennial, leaves are cordate, slightly hairy, flowers are a pale sky blue. This also has tubers that need to be contained with a bottomless pot.
- 'African Sky' - a dense shrubby bush, very hardy to 1m. Leaves are rough, rounded and lobed. Flowers are profuse that are a blue / mauve / sky blue
- viscosa – a herbaceous rosette perennial, leaves are large and long, slightly lobed and rugose. Flowers are maroon and white on a sticky flower stem to 60cm, long flowering time.
- virgata - a herbaceous rosette perennial, leaves are large, long and thin. Profuse blue /mauve flowers that are densely packed along an often coloured
- villosa – a small shrub to 30cm, needing good drainage, a sunny sheltered position and frost tender. Small blue/ green leaves that are hairy. Flowers are slender, with wiry stems and bright violet / blue small flowers.
- canescens - a very small clumping perennial to 20cm, the leaves are long and thin, white and woolly. Flowers are violet / purple with brownish / purple sticky bracts on stems to 45cm.
- cyanescens – a small perennial in the form of a rosette. Leaves are ovate, with masses of white silky hairs and entire margins. Flowers are unusual, on stems in spring to 75cm, the blue lilac flowers have a hood that is spotted with purple and the lower lip is a flushed pale yellow.
- 'Meigan's Magic' – the progeny of ' Anthony Parker' grows to 1.5m, leaves are similar but the flowers are a pure white corolla with a dark purple calayx.
- 'Magenta Magic' – a midsize shrub, very similar to 'Waverly' in leaves and growth habit, but with long magenta flower stems, flowering for long periods.
Hopefully this has sorted out some of those confusing names. While some plants are easily obtainable, others can only be grown from seed, which are often hard to find. But by growing more of these Salvias, you will get to know your plant, which will help to dispel some of the confusion surrounding these names.
BIG & SMALL SALVIAS
At this time of the year most people are ”wow’d” by the colours , size and beautiful display of the winter flowering Salvias, they really are spectacular.
But not everyone can accommodate many of these tall growing Salvias in their small suburban gardens, many are perceived as being too large for these small gardens, but have you noticed how accommodating Salvias are?
Many of the tall growing Salvias have a similar smaller version available
For instance : if you can’t grow the tall involucrata spp, then ‘Bethellii’ will do just as well as an alternative with the same coloured flowers and a similar flower shape, flowering through summer and autumn and only growing 1m tall.
Other examples can be found in :
‘Black Knight’ 2 - 3m tall, large shrub --- ‘Purple Majesty’, 1 m tall, very upright and slender with similar violet purple flowers.
‘Costa Rican Blue’ 2 - 3m tall, -- guaranitica ‘Black n’ Blue’, has very vibrant dark blue flowers, similar and only, 1m tall.
‘Bluebird’ 3 - 4m tall, erect --- polystachya is a smaller version, flowering in Autumn, similar shaped flower and colour , but only 1m tall.
S. iodantha, 4m tall, erect – littae is a much smaller version, a small shrubby salvia, have that same vibrant magenta coloured brush of flowers, but growing only 60 – 80 cms tall.
Another alternative is elegans ‘Purple’, this is an upright shrub, long spikes of narrow magenta flowers, growing to 1.5m tall, very elegant
S. adenophora, 3-4m tall, arching habit --- miniata is a smaller version with those same bright vermilion red flowers, grows in shade, only 60-80cms tall.
How accommodating they all are, but we haven’t found the equivalent for pupurea, karwinskii ,‘Romantic Rose’ or ‘Timboon’, but we will keep looking.
So there is the old adage that “ there IS a Salvia for every situation in your garden”
Photos coming soon
BEWARE! DONT'T GET CAUGHT OUT
We seem to be flooded with a whole host of new varieties of Salvias, most of which are microphylla / greggii combinations. They seem to be popping up everywhere, so I'll try and guide you through this maze of new Salvia names.
We have also recently noticed that some large Nurseries are not recognising well established Salvia species or have the habit of placing Cultivar names on the end of species to help with the marketing of that particular Salvia.
Balls Australia have for some time not recognised the ' greggii' group of Salvias, instead they have incorporated all of the 'greggii's' under the banner of their broad 'Navajo ' Assorted range of Salvias.
Now it seems that Balls Aust. are actually naming individual 'greggii's' in the 'Navajo' range. This is what you might find in your Bunnings store or your local nursery:
S. Navajo 'White' = S. greggii 'Alba'
S. Navajo 'Rose' = S. greggii 'Raspberry Royale'
S. Navajo 'Pink' = S. greggiii 'Sierra Pink' (PGA)
The original Navajo series were: S. 'Navajo Red', S.' Navajo Cream', and S.' Navajo Purple'
Haars Aust. were also were marketing some Salvias a few years ago under their banner of “Garden Jewels”. but they seem to have disappeared. It was here we found a Salvia
that = S. greggii ‘Cerise Jewel’. We have propagated this variety for the last 5
years, the variety coming originally from Qld.
Under this banner of Navajo Assorted was a beautiful new mauve Salvia ( unnamed) which we named S. ‘Navajo Dusky Mauve’. It turns out , that this lovely mauve Salvia is actually one of the ‘Mesa Range’, promoted by ‘Natural Selections’- confused?
Unfortunately Bunnings in their unfailing wisdom lumped all these small growers together on the stand with Balls Aust. – so naturally we and many others thought this mauve Salvia was part of the ‘Navajo’ range, hence the name, but this Salvia should be S. ‘Mesa Azure’
Just to recap :
From the Natural Selection brand there is the Mesa Range (USA) of Salvias which includes ‘Mesa Scarlet’, ‘Mesa Rose’, ‘Mesa Azure’ and ‘Mesa Purple’
( the purple isn’t readily available as yet, but they hope to promote it next season)
These are small shrubs that are fairly nondescript, except for the mauve. ‘Mesa Scarlet looks extremely like ‘ Navajo Red’ but with different leaves. ‘Mesa Rose’s flowers and leaves looking similar to other microphylla varieties already available. So, beware of new cultivar names, observe what you have in your garden, and check your labels.