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Salvia summa
(Supreme sage)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family: Lamiaceae

Scientific Name: Salvia summa A. Nelson

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: Supreme sage

R-E-D Code: 1-1-2

Description: Herbaceous perennial to 30 cm tall; sparingly branched; foliage resinous dotted and finely and densely silky-ciliate and pilose; basal and lower stem leaves pinnately lobed or pinnate; terminal lobe relatively large and coarsely toothed; other leaves ovate to cordate-triangular and variously toothed; flowers short-pedicelled - in axils of leaves, two per node; calyx 2-lipped, divided to near the middle, upper lip three-lobed with the middle lobe triangular and shorter and broader than the lance-linear outer lobes, lower lip with two lance-linear lobes; corolla 35-45 mm long, three times as long as the calyx, pilose, 2-lipped with the nonventricose tube slender but gradually dilated at the spreading lobes, pale lavender or pinkish with red dots in throat; lower corolla lip 3-lobed, noticeably longer than upper lip; stigma lobes unequal and subulate, well-exserted and surpassing stamens. Flowers March and April.

Similar Species: Salvia henryi occurs in the same general habitat, but has red flowers with a shorter lower lip and a ventricose corolla tube abruptly dilated just above the calyx. The foliage of the two taxa is very similar.


Distribution: New Mexico, Chaves, Doņa Ana and Eddy counties, San Andres, Organ, and Guadalupe mountains; adjacent Texas, El Paso and Culberson counties, Franklin, Guadalupe and Delaware mountains; Mexico, Chihuahua

Habitat: Found almost exclusively on partly shaded limestone cliffs; 1,520-2,140 m (5,000-7,000 ft).

Remarks: None

Conservation Considerations: This plant is not significantly threatened by land use within its habitats.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Correll, D.S. and M.C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation, Renner, Texas.

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Walker, J.B. and W.J. Elisens. 2001. A revision of Salvia section Heterosphace (Lamiaceae) in western North America. Sida 19(3):571-589.

Information Compiled By: Richard D. Worthington, 1999

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Salvia summaSoCSoC...S3?G3?


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council