Lyre Leaved Sageor

Lyre Leaved Sageor

Lyre Leaved Sage

When I ask people where they hear the word ‘gum’ on social media, most of the time they’ll point to a song they heard on the radio. Many people have no idea what a 'lyre' is, though, and so the more visible and serendipitous name rings out.Lyreleaf sage is a strictly upright, hairy perennial, 1-2 ft. tall with a rosette of leaves at the base. The leaves are deeply 3-lobed, with a few simple leaves higher up on the stem. Large basal leaves are purple-tinged in the winter. This species has the typical square stem and 2-lipped blossom of the mints. Its pale-blue to violet, tubular flowers are arranged in whorls around the stem forming an interrupted, terminal spike. Each blossom is about 1 inch long. The 2-lobed lower lip is much longer than the upper, which has 3 lobes, the middle one forming a sort of hood. The sepals are purplish-brown.


Lyre-leaved Sage features trumpeting, tubular flowers in white and periwinkle blue that bloom through late spring to early summer. The longer lower lip of these flowers makes a perfect landing strip for bees, pivoting with their weight to tip pollen on them. The blossoms radiate from the squared stem that soars above hairy, low-lying foliage. The leaves portray a high degree of variance, but are most often lobed with a vaguely lyre-like shape. Foliage can be evergreen in its natural environment, showcasing rich purple veins in the cooler months.Salvia lyrata's native range is a large, southeastern swath of the United States: from Connecticut to Missouri, and south. Typical habitats include rocky woodlands, savannas, shorelines, and blufflands. Growing in USDA Zones 6-9, this hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and moist, gritty soil. Highly resilient, Lyre-leaved Sage will tolerate temporary drought, partial flooding, and even consistent mowing! It may require some help to compete amongst taller, more aggressive species, but once established, this plant will self-seed prolifically.

Lyreleaf sage produces leafless spikes of lavender to bluish tubular flowers. Like other members of the mint family, its flowers are two-lipped and its stem is square. The leaves, which appear as basal rosettes, are lyre-shaped (hence the common name) with irregular margins and purplish-red to brownish patches along their midribs. This distinct marking makes the plant easy to identify, even when it is not flowering.Garden tips: Lyreleaf sage is highly adaptable to a variety of conditions and can tolerate both drought and flooding. It does well along roadsides and trail edges. In a landscape, it can be planted with grasses and other groundcovers, as it responds well to mowing. It is easily propagated by root division and seed; plants grown from seed can reach the flowering stage in only a few months. Lyreleaf sage is a prolific self-seeder and can spread quickly, but can be easily managed in a landscape by deadheading and removing seedlings. (Source:www.flawildflowers.org)



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