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Salvia officinalis L.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Salvia chromatica, Salvia papillosa
Common Name: Sage, Common Sage, Garden Sage, Broadleaf Sage, 撒尔维亚
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Butterfly Food Plant Herb & Spice Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
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Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Maximum Height 0.4 m to 0.7 m


Native Distribution Greece, Albania, former Yugoslavia

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial, woody subshrub are evergreen and have an erect or decumbent (horizontal) growth habit.
Foliage Opposite leaves are lanceolate to ellipitic with entire leaf margin (1 - 10 cm long, 0.25 - 5 cm wide). Rugose leaves have a whitish, pubescent (softly hairy) underside. Young leaves are densely pubescent on both sides.       
Stems Young stems are tomentose (softly hairy) and 4-sided.
Flowers Flowers have 2 equal-sized lips with an erect upper lip and curved, 3-lobed lower lip. Inflorescence resembles a raceme (spike-like inflorescence), but actually consists of several cymes.
Fruits Each fruit is composed of 4 dark brown, smooth nutlets which are approximately round and 2.5 mm wide.
Cultivation This species is easy-to-grow. Seeds may take 28 days to germinate. It should be planted in well-drained, acidic to slightly alkaline clay loam under full fun with 0.6 - 0.9 m space between individuals. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions to minimise root rot due to overwatering. It is resistant to most pests (occasionally attacked by nematodes) and tolerates nutrient-poor soil and drought. While it can be grown in light shade, more essential oils are produced under full sun and warm temperatures. NPK fertilizer should be added to the soil before planting and about 6 - 8 weeks after planting. For plants grown as herbs, leaves should be harvested before flowering for maximum flavour. Propagate by seeds, stem cuttings, division or layering. In the tropical lowlands, such as Singapore, this species typically does not produce viable seed.
Etymology The genus Salvia originates from the old Latin name of sage ("salveo") and means healer, referring to the various medicinal properties of sage. The species epithet officinalis means that it is sold in shops as medicine. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice : Dried leaves are used to flavour stuffings, sausages and cheeses.)
Medicinal ( The essential oils have antibacterial properties.)

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Butterfly Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Division, Ground Layering


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Rough
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Remarks Greyish green

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple

Image Repository



Master ID 30355
Species ID 4664
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 16 October 2020.