Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Nettleleaf Sage - Salvia urticifolia   L.
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Lamiaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionPresent over nearly all of the Piedmont, and at least in the central and southern mountains; seemingly absent from the northern mountains and the extreme northwestern Piedmont. Not found in the Coastal Plain.

This is a mostly Southern species, found north to MD, northern VA, and KY south to northern FL and northern MS.
AbundanceInfrequent to locally fairly common in the eastern and central Piedmont, mostly uncommon in the southwestern Piedmont and southern half of the mountains. The website editors have suggested a State Rank of S3S4, as S3 is overly conservative.
HabitatThis species requires high pH soil, usually in dry to somewhat mesic conditions. It occurs in glades and barrens, openings in upland woods, often where rocky, and wooded borders.
See also Habitat Account for Basic Barrens and Glades
PhenologyBlooms from April to June, and fruits from May to July.
IdentificationThis is a medium-sized herb, growing to about 1-1.5' tall, mostly unbranched or with basal branches. There are no basal leaves; the stem leaves are relatively few, in pairs, each one being widely ovate to deltoid, about 3" long and about 2" wide, with weakly serrated margins. The leaf base is truncate, and then narrowed to the stem. The inflorescence is a raceme at the top of the stem, about 4-5" long, with numerous layers or small whorls of flowers, each flower being violet-blue and about 1/2" long. The lower lip is strongly extended past the upper as a tongue, with white markings in the middle of this lip. The species might resemble a skullcap (Scutellaria) to some people, but Salvia species have a short upper lip that does not form a hood. This can be a very difficult species to find if you confine activities to acidic soils, but it is often present in many Piedmont natural areas that contain "prairie plants" and circumneutral soil. A colony of these plants can be quite showy, especially as there are not that many spring-flowering species with violet-blue racemes in its dry, high pH habitats.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3 [S3S4]
Global RankG5
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