Salvia pamirica Gand.
Biennial or short-lived perennial. Stems thick, sturdy, quadrangular, with a ± dense indumentum below of long white eglandular hairs and glandular in inflorescence region. Leaves broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, c. 10-20 x 5-10 cm, rugose, serrate-erose, acute, rounded or cordate at base, pubescent to almost lanate; petiole 4-10 cm. Inflorescence paniculate, showy of numerous 6-10-flowered distant verticillasters. Bracts or floral leaves large, green, white or pink, membranous, cuspidate, as long as or longer than flowers. Pedicels 2-3 mm, spreading-erect. Calyx ovate-campanulate, c. 10 mm in flower lengthening to c. 13 mm in fruit, with glandular and eglandular hairs and sessile glands; upper lip with 3 spinulose teeth; lower lip with 2 narrow ovate spinulose teeth. Corolla white, lilac or cream, 20-30 mm; upper lip falcate; tube c. 10 mm long, ventricose, squamulate. Stamens with an elongated connective and a sterile dolabriform lower theca. Nutlets 4, c. 3 x 2 mm, ± globose, scarcely trigonous, rounded, pale brown with darker veins.
Type: "Syria, Italia" (LINN 42/45!).
Distribution: S. Europe, Mediterranean region, SW and C. Asia; also reported from Nepal.
Salvia sclarea is a widespread species which, given adequate material, is easily recognized by the sturdy quadrangular stems, ± cordate leaves, the large showy usually coloured floral leaves or bracts and the form of the corolla tube. Although our material, which was previously called Salvia asperata, seems to have appreciably smaller and scarcely coloured floral leaves, in all other characters it is typical of Salvia sclarea and I prefer, for the present, to regard it as a variant of this species. But the available material is rather limited.