Tree-like Salvias

Nancy Harrison vulpia at
Wed Aug 12 08:21:07 EST 1998

This plant that I asked about is apparently not a Salvia at all, but
the Chaste Tree, Vitex (Verbenaceae). Thanks to Dr.Bill Cole of Texas
who emailed me shortly after I posted the message quoted below.
  This points out one of the mistakes that can be made when trying
to ID a plant - "jumping to conclusions" too soon. After all the times
I told students not to do this, I did it myself! Assuming that an aromatic
plant with opposite leaves and a bilabiate corolla was a Mint! That
left me mired in the Lamiaceae keys for more than a week.
  Because Verbenaceae is a family with very few representatives in
the California flora, I had totally forgotten about its affinities
to the Mints, and the fact that it could have very aromatic members!
Following up yesterday, I was able to see that Vitex fit my specimen
just about perfectly.
  I love this group! I should have posted the question a week ago
and saved myself the angst. Thanks! - NH
>I am trying to find in our limited horticultural refs (Bailey, Hortus 
>III) and at local nurseries, and on the Web, the name of a tree-like
>Salvia species which is a shrub that can be trained to a tree-like
>form about 8 ft high. No tall Salvias in the literature fit this
>form, which grows in 2 places in our city. The leaves are very
>distinctive, looking like a palmately-lobed leaf with narrow linear
>lobes. (It's probably pinnate, though - hard to diagnose!)
>  Flowers are dark purple, plant is very aromatic. Any ideas? -NH
---Nancy Harrison, SRJC Life Sciences, Santa Rosa CA 95401 (with link to CNPS in Sonoma 

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