Lyre-leaf Sage

This week for Flora and Fauna Friday is an herb with musical morphology: Lyre-leaf Sage (Salvia lyrata).

Lyre-leaf Sage is a short perennial in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Like most mints it has a square stem and fused, symmetrical flowers. Our Sage grows as a flat rosette in shady clearings and lawns. This minute presence is suited for a life lived in fear of the mower. The stem it constructs is just a rack to hang its flowers from. Those flowers are long and weeping. A pastel-violet that borders on blue and stacked in rings upon its short stem, held limply against the pull of the Earth. Lyre-leaf Sage gets its name from its leaves. As you could surmise those leaves are shaped much like a lyre, with a wide, round tip that narrows as it retreats before flaring again with an embellishing set of lobes. Yet that embellishment begets a neck and its name may be better said as the Guitar-leaf Sage. Those leaves themselves are dark green with spreading veins of burgundy between.

Lyre-leaf Sage is one of those weedy wildflowers that comes to dominate the roadside scenery of Edisto Island with a certain color a certain season every year. Like others I’ve spotlighted, it flavors the landscape and sets the mood for a month. For Lyre-leaf Sage that month is April. It blooms in shaggy strips of pastel-purple that season the shoulders of the highway. Pockets of spring displayed on the backdrop of the black top. A dose of nature doled out by our diminutive docent as we drive the artery of our Island.

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