Keys to Identification
- Sometimes sold as Ethiopian Sage in local nurseries
- Mediterranean Sage is an aggressive ornamental plant
- Has invaded over 400 acres of rangeland in northern Boulder County
- Large wooly leaves that are strongly aromatic
- Mediterranean Sage produces a profusion of showy, white flowers
- This weed usually becomes established in sparsely vegetated land, but will readily invade rangelands in good condition
This information courtesy of the Colorado Natural Areas Program
Family: Mint (Lamiaceae)
Other Names: African sage
USDA Code: SAAE
Legal Status: Colorado Noxious Weed List A
Lifecycle: Biennial or short-lived perennial
Growth form: Forb
Flower: Flowers are two-lipped, yellowish-white and born in a candelabra-like inflorescence. June-Aug.
Seeds/Fruit: Each flower develops four nutlets that are smooth with dark veins.
Leaves: First-year rosette leaves are large, grayish, and woolly. Lower stem leaves have stalks are lobed, with coarsely-toothed blades 0.3-1 foot long. Upper stem leaves are smaller and clasp the stem.
Stems: Mature plants are 2-3 ft tall and highly branched above.
Roots: No information available.
Seedling: No information available.
Exotics: Meadow sage (S. pratensis) resembles Mediterranean sage, but usually has blue flowers, and is more coarsely hairy.
Natives: No information available.
Agricultural: It is unpalatable to grazing animals and it reduces the amount of forage available for livestock.
Ecological: Mediterranean sage spreads rapidly into disturbed pasture, rangeland, meadows, and other open areas.
Habitat and Distribution
General requirements: Mediterranean sage usually invades disturbed pasture, rangeland, meadows, riparian areas, along roadsides, and other open areas. It prefers well-drained soils and dry conditions. In the western states, Mediterranean sage grows in sagebrush steppe and ponderosa pine zones.
Distribution: A few locations in Colorado including Boulder and Garfield counties. It is also found in Pacific coastal states.
Historical: Mediterranean sage is a native of the Mediterranean and northern Africa.
Life cycle: Mediterranean sage is a biennial that produces a large rosette the first year. During the second year, the plant bolts, producing multi-branched stems with white to blue-green, woolly, felt-like leaves. Plants flower from June to August. During the hottest part of the summer, the plant becomes dormant (Roché and Wilson 1999).
Mode of reproduction: Seed.
Seed production: A single plant may produce thousands of seeds.
Dispersal: Seeds are spread easily because the mature plant forms a tumbleweed (Whitson et al. 1996).
Calweed Database. 1997. California Noxious Weed Control Projects Inventory. Natural Resource Projects Inventory, Information Center for the Environment, University of California, Davis. Available: http://endeavor.des.ucdavis.edu/weeds/
Roché, C.T. and L.M. Wilson. 1999. Mediterranean sage. In: R.L. Sheley and J.K. Petroff (eds.). Biology and
management of noxious rangeland weeds. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis. pg. 261-270.
Whitson, T.D.(ed.), L.C. Burrill, S.A. Dewey, D.W. Cudney, B.E. Nelson, R.D. Lee, R. Parker. 1996. Mediterranean sage. Weeds of the West. Western Society of Weed Science, in cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Services, Newark CA. pg. 368.