Purple Clary Sage

Salvia sclarea

This plant is such a joy to grow – every stage of its growth having something to offer – and the fragrance of its flowers and leaves is heavenly. Medicinal use of this plant goes back to at least the 1st Century. Clary seeds have a mucilaginous coat, which is why some old herbals recommended placing a seed into the eye of someone with a foreign object in it so that it can adhere to the object and make it easy to remove. Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal Manual (1653) referred to this sage as “clear-eye” for this reason. The distilled essential oil is used widely in perfumes and as a muscatel flavouring for vermouths, wines, and liqueurs, as well as in aromatherapy.

Water: Moderate to Moist

Hardiness: Frost Hardy

Habit: Biennial or short-lived herbaceous perennial to 4' tall

Light: Full Sun to Light Shade

Soil: Average, well-draining soil

Origin: Northern Mediterranean basin

Purple Clary Sage