Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage)

600px-img_7291-copySalvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage) Aka Moradilla  Blood sage, Texas sage, Hummingbird Sage, or Tropical sage, is a herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae family that is widespread throughout the Southeastern United States,  including Texas,  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina and a single county in Ohio. It is native also to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals.  

The genus is distributed throughout the Old World and the Americas, with three distinct regions of diversity: Central and South America (approx. 500 species); Central Asia and Mediterranean (250 species); Eastern Asia (90 species) (

Tropical Sage is native to Central and South America as well. It also has naturalized in parts of Europe and Africa, including the island of Madagascar where it grows in the shady Agnalazaha forest. The people of Madagascar call it Romba madinika and use its leaves to treat for parasites.

Salvia coccinea“Salvia” derives from Latin salvia, “the plant sage”,  from “salvus”,  meaning “healthy” (becoming “safe” later on, see reference below). Its specific epithet, coccinea, means “scarlet-dyed” (Latin), referring to the color of its flowers.

The Salvia genus produces flowers in racemes, or panicles. The calyx is normally tubular or bell shaped, without bearded throats, and divided into two parts or lips, the upper lip entire or three-toothed, the lower two-cleft. 

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage)The corollas are often claw shaped and are two-lipped. The upper lip is usually entire or three-toothed. The lower lip typically has two lobes.  The flower styles are two-cleft. They have two stamens, and a very thin pistil running in between.

The plant is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones Zones 8-10. The plant reaches 2 to 4 ft (0.61 to 1.22 m) in height, with many branches, and a spread of about 2.5 ft (0.76 m). The hairy leaves, scalloped on the edges, are pea green, varying in size, all the way up to 3 in (7.6 cm) long and 2 in (5.1 cm) wide. 

SalviaSalvia coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etl. Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, J.L.A., Herbier général de l’amateur. Deuxième Série, vol. 1: t. 89 (1839-50)



33 thoughts on “Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage)

  1. This is a plant I know, and could visualize even before seeing your photos. It is a beauty, and you’ve done it a service with your portrayal. The red is striking, but I’m quite taken with the green. The slight hint of gray added to it makes it especially elegant.


    • Thanks Linda, these plants grows in USDA zones 10 & 11 which here means in the altitudes, away from the coast. I had these from last April when my father died. These were images done in a studio setting (with a black backdrop), part of the course I took with Alex Koloskov, an online photography teacher. I’m glad you liked it!


    • Yes, definitely, it does, I should have dwelled more in the “salvia” genus. Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals, and is part of the tribe Mentheae.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stunning colors Maria. Sorry j haven’t been by to visit your beautiful blog. I’ve been recovering from an injury so I’m just now able to be online more. I always love your posts and all the wonderful details you share! 💕🤗🤗


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