Hummingbird sage, pitcher sage
California; south and the central coast
Between 1 and 5 feet
Coastal bluffs, chaparral, oak woodland, open hillsides
Oblong or ovate, up to 7 inches long, with irregularly toothed edges and a bumpy surface
Salvia spathacea is an attractive plant, producing knobbly green leaves and an elongated inflorescence of pink flowers and purple bracts. The stems are greenish-purple, up to 5 feet tall, and bear flower clusters at closely-spaced intervals; they, together with the leaves and bracts, have a covering of short, glandular hairs. The purple bracts are 1.25 inches long and have a spiked tip, while the pink or reddish flowers are formed of a tubular corolla (1.5 inches long) opening to a two-lobed upper lip and a single, longer lower lip. Inside are two pink stamens topped by purple anthers and one style, split near the tip; all three project well beyond the corolla (exserted). Distribution is restricted to coastal California and nearby inland areas, but the plant is locally common.