Stenarrhena D. Don
Shrubs, subshrubs, perennial, biennial or rarely annual herbs, usually aromatic. Stems erect, leafy or not, usually with simple eglandular hairs below and glandular hairs above. Leaves undivided, crenate, deeply lobed to pinnatisect, petiolate or subsessile. Inflorescence of few- to many-flowered verticillasters, distant or approximating. Bracts usually distinct from leaves, sometimes showy. Calyx tubular to infundibuliform, bilabiate, slightly or much expanding in fruit, 10-15-veined; upper lip shortly or scarcely 3-toothed; lower lip equally 2-toothed. Corolla bilabiate; upper lip falcate or ± straight, entire or bifid; lower lip 3-lobed, median lobe usually larger and concave; tube straight or curved, ventricose or not, invaginated and with a small internal scale (squamula) or not, annulate or not. Stamens 2, with a large fertile theca at upper end and a usually much smaller fertile theca or a sterile dolabriform plate at the lower end; connectives clearly separating the thecae; stamens articulating at the point of attachment of filament and connective (in ours); staminodes usually present, very small. Style bifid with unequal flattened or terete lobes. Nutlets 4, glabrous ellipsoid to ± spherical, smooth, veined or not, usually mucilaginous on wetting.
About 800 species throughout the Old and New World. SW Asia and C. Asia are important centres for this very distinct genus. The structure of the stamens is quite different from any other genus in the Labiatae.
In addition to the 16 native species in our area, several cultivated species, all widely grown in the warmer parts of the world, can be seen in gardens. These are dealt with after the main account of the native species.
Species of uncertain status
Salvia halaensis Vicary in Journ. As. Soc. Bengal 16. 1165. 1847.
This was described from the Hala range (Pakistan, Sind, G4) by Vicary, without a specimen being cited. Despite many attempts to trace specimens, the type specimen (if it mists) has not been found, nor have any specimens bearing that name. The description is not detailed enough to convey a clear picture of the plant, and its identity remains unknown, but it is almost certainly within the Salvia aegyptiaca - Salvia sanrolinifolia group. Both these species are known from Sind, and both names antedate Salvia halaensis. Vicary’s description of the calyx as "lanatopilose" would not fit Salvia aegyptiaca (which he also cites from the Hala range), but would agree with Salvia santolinifolia; he remarks at the start of his paper ("Some notes on the botany of Shade") that his specimens were collected between December and February "when I was accompanying an army in an enemy’s country"!
Several species of Salvia are grown in our area as ornamentals for their showy flowers or striking habit. R. R. Stewart (Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 630-632. 1972) lists most of those briefly described below; some others may also be grown in gardens or parks. No herbarium specimens from Pakistan have been seen and the frequency of their cultivation is not known.
Salvia coccinea Etlinger, De Salvia 23. 1777. (Fig. 25, E-H).
Stems with long white hairs. Leaves ± triangular. Calyx often dark or violet-coloured. Corolla scarlet up to 25 mm. Stamens and styles clearly exserted. Native of tropical America.
Salvia farinacea Benth., Lab. Gen. et Sp. 274: 1833. (Fig. 25, A-D).
Stems puberulous below. Leaves often clustered at nodes, eglandularpubescent or almost glabrous, gland-dotted. Calyx short tubular, densely white- or lilac-lanate. Corolla white, violet or purple, 10-15 mm. Native of New Mexico, Texas.
Salvia lamiifolia Jacq., Hon. Schoenbr. 3: 37, t. 318. 1798.
Stems sparsely pubescent. Leaves elegantly rounded-cordate, almost glabrous, dark above, pale below. Corolla purplish blue, c. 15 mm long. Listed by Stewart (l.c.) but probably less commonly grown that the others. Native to the West Indies.
Salvia leucantha Cay., Icons 1: 16. t. 24. 1791.
Stems white-lanate below, densely violet-lanate above. Leaves whitelanate below, almost glabrous above. Calyx strikingly violet-lanate. Corolla white, c. 20 mm. Native of Mexico.
Salvia officinalis L., Sp. Pl. 23. 1753.
Aromatic shrub with greyish rugose oblong lanceolate leaves and purplish c. 25 mm corollas. The common or culinary sage has sometimes been cultivated (e.g in Srinagar) as a kitchen herb. A Mediterranean native.
Salvia splendens Sellow ex Roem. & Schultes, Syst., Mantiss. 1: 185. 1822.
Stems puberulous. Leaves regularly ovate. Verticillasters 2(-4)-flowered. Bracts, calyces and corollas bright red or scarlet; flowers 40-50 mm long. A native of Brazil.
Salvia viridis L., Sp. Pl. 24. 1753 (syn. Salvia horminum L.)
An erect annual with rather inconspicuous flowers but large coloured bracts/floral leaves which form a showy white, pink or violet coma overtopping the inflorescence. A Mediterranean species.