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Common Name: Californian Black Sage
Salvia mellifera is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
South-western N. America - California.
Found in coastal sage scrub and chaparral plant communities[
Requires a very well-drained light sandy soil in a sunny position[
]. Prefers a rich soil[
]. Soils rich in nitrogen encourage excessive leaf growth at the expense of flowering[
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
]. Plants can be killed by excessive winter wet[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The aromatic leaves can be brewed into a tea[
The leaves and stems can be used as a food flavouring[
The seeds can be dried then ground into a powder and used as a gruel[
The green leaves are cardiac and carminative[
]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of heart complaints[
]. They can be chewed in the treatment of gas pains[
]. A poultice of the heated leaves can be applied to the ear in the treatment of ear pains, or to the neck in the treatment of sore throats[
A decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of chronic bronchial coughs[
]. The decoction has also been used as a bath in the treatment of paralysis[
Seed - sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse[
]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. In areas where the plant is towards the limits of its hardiness, it is best to grow the plants on in a greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood succeed at almost any time in the growing season[