Description: Annual or perennial herb, rarely a shrub; branches ± covered with simple hairs, sessile glands often present.
Leaves opposite, margins entire, or crenate to deeply lobed; petiolate.
Inflorescence often reduced to 1 or 2 flowers per leaf- or bract axil; internodes usually visible. Sepals unequally fused, 2-lipped; lower lip deeply 2-lobed; upper lip 3-lobed, rarely only 1 broad lobe. Corolla 2-lipped; lower lip 3-lobed, with median lobe broad and 2 lateral lobes narrow; upper lip erect, ± hooded, scarcely 2-lobed. Stamens 2 fertile; loculi separated by elongated connective, 1 loculus ± sterile. Staminodes 2, minute, sometimes absent. Ovary deeply 4-lobed; style gynobasic; stigma unequally 2-fid.
Mericarps usually obovoid, scarcely keeled.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 700 species, tropical to temperate regions. Australia: 6 species (1 species native, 5 species naturalized), all States except N.T.
Text by B. J. Conn
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Branches, inflorescence and, at least lower surface of leaves woolly; corolla white||2|
|Branches, inflorescence and leaves with short or long, spreading, retrorse or antrorse hairs; indumentum never woolly||3|
|2||Petioles 3–7 cm long; leaves with lamina 5–12 cm wide with margins deeply and irregularly toothed; inflorescence much-branched; bracts stiff and spinescent, persistent in fruit||Salvia aethiopis|
|Petioles 1–2 cm long; leaves with lamina 0.7–2 cm wide with margins finely crenate; inflorescence unbranched; bracts soft, not spinescent, not persistent in fruit|
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|3||Branches with short, simple retrorse hairs and long, multicellular more or less spreading hairs; lamina base truncate or cordate||4|
|Branches with short, simple retrorse hairs only; lamina base cuneate to tapering|
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|4||Corolla red, rarely pink; margins of leaves crenate or toothed||Salvia coccinea|
|Corolla blue-purple to lilac; margins of leaves pinnatifid to pinnatisect or incised|
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|5||Leaves with margins crenate; inflorescence usually much-branched; corolla 3.5–5 mm long||Salvia plebeia|
|Leaves with margins almost entire, with shallow distant teeth; inflorescence unbranched; corolla 7–10 mm long|
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