Salvia lyrata L. - Lyre-leaved Sage, Cancer Weed

Salvia lyrata plant

Family - Lamiaceae

Stems - Simple or with few branching, herbaceous, pilose, 4-angled, scapose, to +50cm tall, from thickened roots.

Leaves - Basal leaves in rosette, lyrate, petiolate, to +15cm long, +5cm broad, densely pilose. Petiole dense pilose. Cauline leaves lanceolate to elliptic, opposite, few or absent, sessile, toothed, pilose, to +/-2cm long, 1cm broad.

Salvia lyrata leaves

Inflorescence - Evenly spaced verticels terminating stem. Flowers typically in clusters of 4 equaling to +/-8 per verticel. Flowers on pedicel to 3mm long, densely pubescent.

Salvia lyrata inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla light blue, bilabiate, to +2.5cm long, pubescent. Upper lip smaller than lower lip. Lower lip to 8mm broad. Stamens 2, adnate near apex of throat, included. Filaments to 2mm long, glabrous. Anthers brownish-purple. Style to +3cm long, exserted. Stigma 2-lobed(unequally). Calyx to +/-1cm long, bilabiate, pilose. Upper lip green at base fading to purplish at apex, truncate at apex, with 3 bristles, to 5mm long. Lower lip 2-lobed. Lobes attenuate, longer than upper lip, ciliate margined. Nutlets 4.

Salvia lyrata corolla

Salvia lyrata corolla

Salvia lyrata calyxCalyx.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Open woods, gravelly stream banks, pastures, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant is easily identified by its basal leaves, which are lyrate. The plant can bloom when quite small (-15cm), but can get to over 50cm. This species is in the mint family but is not fragrant. It is quite common in the southeast portion of Missouri.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-25-02, and off Wire Road, Auburn, AL., 4-17-05.


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