Salvia reflexa (Lance-leaved Sage)

Plant Info
Also known as: Rocky Mountain Sage, Mintweed
Family:Lamiaceae (Mint)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:sun; dry sandy or rocky soil; prairies, hillsides, roadsides
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] The light blue flowers are borne mostly in opposite pairs, or rarely whorls of 3 or 4, along spike-like racemes from the upper leaf axils. The fused petals form an irregular tube about 1/3 inch long with a small, white, cup-like hood at the top, densely fuzzy on the outer surface. The lower lip is broad and tongue-like, creased down the middle with two side lobes and a round dilated lobe on each side at the tip end. The two stamens stay hidden under the hood with only the single slender style visibly extended, curving around the hood. The leafy calyx is tubular, ½ to ¾ the length of the floral tube and centrally folded, with a single triangular lobe above and two below, and prominently nerved with minute hairs along the main veins.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are simple and opposite, the blade narrowly oblong to lance-oblong, 1 to 2 inches long and less than ¼ to about ½ inch wide, the base tapered to a 1/3 to ¾-inch stalk, and the tip tapering to a dull or almost rounded point. The edges are often cupped upward and are smooth or have a few shallow teeth. Leaves become progressively smaller into the flower cluster where they become less than 1/10 inch long and scale-like. The main stem is erect, with many spreading and diffuse branches on mature plants. Stem surfaces are either smooth or covered with very fine incurled hairs.


Found from coast-to-coast and from Canada to Mexico, Lance-leaved Sage's distribution within that range is surprisingly scattered. Found mostly In Minnesota's western counties, it is less common than one would expect for an annual with such a broad geographic range. Unlike many other members of the mint family, ts leaves are not aromatic when crushed. Lance-leaved Sage is considered adventive in some areas east of the Mississippi River, and is an agricultural pest in Australia, where it was imported (intentionally or not) and is now a noxious weed there. It just goes to show that importing exotic species that turn invasive is not just a problem in the U.S. It is a global issue.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken near Garrison, North Dakota.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Bob - Hennepin County
on: 2013-09-08 08:26:38

I believe that I've been seeing this plant in Hennepin County, along the shoreline of Bassett Creek near Hiway 100 and Hiway 55

Posted by: Erica - Roseville
on: 2014-07-26 15:19:58

There is a similar species that I believe is also native to Minnesota (at least per the USDA site) called Salvia azurea. It is 2-5 feet tall. Beautiful blue flowers.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-07-26 15:38:30

Not sure where the USDA database got its info, but there are no official records of Salvia azurea in MN. It is native south of us but the DNR does not recognize it as native here.

Posted by: Carole G - Maplewood
on: 2017-10-16 10:02:14

This plant showed up under my bird feeder four years ago. I'm not sure whether it was a bird seed contaminant or if it was a bonus from one of my purchased native plants. I'm thinking the former based on the area where it first came up.

Posted by: Sue Lindgren - Golden Valley, Hennepin Co.
on: 2019-07-19 20:35:06

Found this growing under a railroad bridge many years ago. It was so pretty I took some seed home and planted it in my garden. I let it self sow, and I always have some the next year. I disagree that it doesn't have any smell. The leaves are softly minty when crushed.

Posted by: Kathryn Anderson - Richfield
on: 2022-06-25 11:56:58

Showed up on my boulevard several years ago. Self seeds readily. It's a tough little bit of a thing. I leave it to grow.

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