Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Black and Blue Blooms

Anytime I find myself liking a plant, I want to know more about it. I want to know where it came from, what uses it may have outside of what I am using it for, whether it has any cultural significance to anything. Seriously, there's a lot of history to a lot of seemingly simple plants. I am very interested in new world plants, and this flower, Salvia guaranitica is a new world flower.
The first thing I figured out after purchasing 2 without knowing much, is that it's a great hummingbird plant. Well, I learned things in regard to its cultivation like it gets big. In warm climates it can be invasive but in temperate places like Pittsburgh it has survived some pretty harsh winters. I might try to winter this if I keep liking it. I will opt for retiring it to my coldroom rather than letting it winter outside because otherwise it will probably die. I wanted to know more about it specifically. It has a nice smell. (gets up to let cat inside and to sniff flowers to better describe)It smells like a fruity sage, not like anise to my nose, though I only have smelled 'black and blue'. There are other slight color variations, all I believe are pretty vivid blue.
So it smells pleasant. Is it edible? According to Rose Marie Nichols Magee, in this blog post, Salvia guaranitica Anise Scented Sage, Rose Marie, one of my heroes, the flower at least is edible. Oh good! More snazzy garnishes!
It seems to have been named after the Guarani Indians of Brazil who drank yerba mate before anyone else. They seem to have used the leaves as a sedative. It sounds like this might be more than a little stronger than say chamomile tea so maybe I won't experiment with that.
Anyway, I enjoy this plant more now knowing that it's not just a pretty flower. I hope you enjoyed these pictures showing my first blooms opening up. I am looking forward to more. Don't you like how the flower went from this dark purple/blue to that^^^?
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