Mediterranean sage [Salvia aethiopis L.][SALAE] [CalEPPC: Need more information][CDFA list: B] Photographs Map of Distribution

Meadow sage [Salvia virgata Jacq.][Bayer code: none][CDFA list: A] Photographs Map of Distribution

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION:Herbaceous perennial to biennial, with flowering stems to 1 m tall.

SEEDLINGS:Exist as basal rosettes through the first year and flower the second or subsequent years.

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MATURE PLANT:Leaves aromatic when crushed, mostly basal, +/- finely crinkled in texture. Margins with coarse, irregular, rounded teeth. Basal leaves larger than stem leaves.

ROOTS and UNDERGROUND STRUCTURES:Taproot tough, +/- woody, with fibrous lateral roots.

FLOWERS:June-August. In whorls on stems, with a pair of bracts below each whorl (verticillate). Flowers strongly 2-lipped (bilabiate); upper lip entire, arched; lower lip 3-lobed. Ovaries deeply 4-lobed.

FRUITS and SEEDS:Nutlets 4 per flower, enclosed by the persistent calyx. Nutlets ovoid, smooth, brown.

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MANAGEMENT FAVORING/DISCOURAGING SURVIVAL:Prevent seed dispersal by removing plants before flowering. Plants generally do not produce new basal rosettes when cut 5-7 cm (2-3 inches) below the crown.

SIMILAR SPECIES:Mature Mediterranean and meadow sages do not resemble any native sages and are unlikely to be confused with them.

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Prevention: Mediterranean sage is an aggressive colonizer of highly disturbed areas and may outcompete desirable rangeland and native species. It mainly occurs in rangeland areas of Northern California and is a CDFA class B noxious weed. Little is known about Meadow sage. It has been detected in Nevada, Siskiyous, and San Bernadino counties and is a CDFA class A noxious weed. Both species reproduce by seed and spread in a tumbleweed fashion. Little is known about the seedbank longevity of either species, and infested sites should be monitored for several years for new recruitment. Because of the tumbleweed dispersal method, skeletons are often caught on fences, and may be a good indicator of potential new infestations.
Both species are apparently non-palatable to livestock. Ranchers should avoid overgrazing infested areas and spot treat new infestations to prevent spread. Revegetation of highly disturbed areas may prevent invasion by these species.

Mechanical: Tillage is an effective control strategy for rosettes and bolting plants. However, tillage is generally not an option in areas these plants infest. Small infestations may be controlled by hand digging or severing the root approximately three inches below the soil surface when the plants are beginning to bolt. Cutting at a shallower depth will generally result in crown resprouting. Mowing has not been an effective control strategy due to the prostrate growth habit of the rosettes.

Biological: The Mediterranean sage root crown weevil (Phrydiuchus tau) was introduced to Oregon in 1971 and is now established at locations at several locations in California, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon. This weevil feeds on the roots and crown during its larval stage and on the foliage and flowering shoots during its adult stage. Plants are greatly weakened or die under heavy feeding. The adult weevil is easily identified, by the characteristic white "T" on the back. The insect is readily available for distribution, or may be collected at previously established locations. The adults may be collected with a sweep net in late spring. They should be transferred to new sites in a cool, dry, storage carton with ample food. Successful establishment may require about 150 adult weevils. Establishment of the weevil is favored on warm, dry, southern exposed slopes. This weevil has been successful in some areas, but may be ineffective in others. Utilizing the weevil with good perennial grass management has shown the most success. The weevil will also feed on meadow sage, but with little effect on the plants.

Chemical: There is little information regarding chemical control of either Mediterranean sage or meadow sage. Dicamba and 2,4-D have been reported to control Mediterranean sage. Plants should be treated after bolting but before seed are produced. The hairy nature of the leaf surface may reduce herbicide efficacy and a surfactant should be included.

Integrated management strategies: There is no information regarding the effect of herbicide applications on the Mediterranean sage root crown weevil. The weevil is highly active during the plants rapid growth phase, which is concurrent with the best herbicide application time. If there is concern, insects may be collected and transferred to other infestations that will not be sprayed.

Rees, N. E., Quimby, P. C. Jr., Piper, G. L., Coombs, E. C., Turner, C. E., Spencer, N. R., and Knutson, L. 1996. Biological Control of Weeds in the West. Bozeman, MT: Western Society of Weed Science.
Roche, C. T. 1991. Mediterranean sage (Salvia aethiopis L.). Pacific Northwest Extension Bulletin 381.
Wilson, L. M., McCaffrey, J. P., and Coombs, E. C. 1994. Biological control of Mediterranean sage. Collection and redistribution of the Mediterranean root crown weevil. Pacific Northwest Extension Bulletin 473
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