Salvia elegans, commonly called pineapple sage or tangerine sage, is a perennial shrub native to Mexico and Guatemala. It inhabits Madrean and Mesoamerican pine-oak forests between 6,000 and 9,000 ft (1,800 and 2,700 m).
Salvia rutilans Carrière
Salvia elegans has tubular red flowers and an attractive scent to the leaves that is similar to pineapple. It produces numerous erect leafy stems and flowers in the late autumn. The red flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. In a highland temperate forest in central Mexico, pineapple sage was found to be one of the three most-visited species by hummingbirds. It is a short-day plant. The flowering season in Mexico is August onward; further north it may not flower till later autumn, and if there are no frosts, it may flower till spring.
In cultivation, pineapple sage grows to 1.2 to 1.5 m (3.9 to 4.9 ft) tall, with the roots extending underground to form a large clump. The pale yellow-green leaves are veined, and covered with fine hairs. Six to twelve scarlet flowers grow in whorls, with a long inflorescence that blooms gradually and over a prolonged period of time. With a hard frost, the plant will die down to the ground and grow back the following spring. Pineapple sage was introduced into horticulture about 1870.
The variety "Honey Melon", which has the same pineapple fragrance in the leaves, blooms early in the summer, rather than in autumn.
The leaves and flowers of S. elegans are edible. The plant is extensively used in Mexican traditional medicine, especially for the treatment of anxiety, and also for lowering of blood pressure. Although scientific information about these medicinal properties is scarce, a preliminary study on mice found support for the plant potentially having antidepressant and antianxiety properties. Pineapple sage has also been shown to have a dose-dependent antihypertensive effect, attributed to its action as an angiotensin II receptor antagonist and inhibitor of the angiotensin converting enzyme.
- Greenwalks: Tangerine Sage
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- Jiménez-Ferrer, Enrique; Hernández Badillo, Fidel; González-Cortazar, Manases; Tortoriello, Jaime; Herrera-Ruiz, Maribel (2010). "Antihypertensive activity of Salvia elegans Vahl. (Lamiaceae): ACE inhibition and angiotensin II antagonism". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 130 (2): 340–346. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.05.013. PMID 20488233.