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Salvia sclarea

Salvia sclarea (Photo: *)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Lamiales

Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Subtribus: Salviinae
Genus: Salvia
Subgenus: S. subg. Sclarea
Sectio: S. sect. Aethiopis
Species: Salvia sclarea

Salvia sclarea L., Sp. Pl. 1: 27 (1753).

Aethiopis sclarea (L.) Opiz, Seznam Rostlin Kveteny Ceské 11 (1852)
Aethiopis sclarea (L.) Fourr., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon sér. 2, 17: 134 (1869), comb. superfl.
Sclarea vulgaris Mill., Gard. Dict. ed. 8: 1 (1768).
Salvia altilabrosa Pan, Trab. Mus. Nac. Ci. Nat., Ser. Bot., 14: 33 (1918).
Salvia bracteata Sims, Bot. Mag. 49: t (2320) (1822), nom. illeg. non Banks & Sol. (1794).
Salvia calostachya Gand., Fl. Lyon. 171 (1875).
Salvia coarctata Vahl, Enum. Pl. 1: 253 (1804).
Salvia foetida Lam., Tabl. Encycl. 1: 69 (1791).
Salvia haematodes Scop., Fl. Carniol., ed. 2, 1: 29 (1771), nom. illeg. non L. (1753).
Salvia lucana Cavara & Grande, Bull. Orto Bot. Regia Univ. Napoli 3: 436 (1913).
Salvia pamirica Gand., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 60: 26 (1913).
Salvia simsiana Schult., Mant. 1: 210 (1822).
Salvia turkestanica Noter, Rev. Hort. 77: 502 (1905).
Sclarea tingitana (Etl.) Raf., Fl. Tellur. 3: 94 (1837).
Salvia sclarea var. calostachya (Gand.) Nyman, Consp. Fl. Eur. 569 (1881).
Salvia sclarea var. hispanica Gavioli, Cavanillesia 4: 140 (1931).
Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica (Noter) Mottet, Rev. Hort. 79: 135 (1907).

Native distribution areas:
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 27. Reference page.

Additional references

Govaerts, R.H.A. 2003. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [unavailable for the public] Reference page.
Castroviejo, S. et al. (eds.) 2015. Salvia sclarea in Flora Ibérica. Plantas vasculares de la Península Ibérica, e Islas Baleares. Published online. Accessed: 2015 Sept 13. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Salvia sclarea in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 May 16. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Salvia sclarea. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 May 16. Reference page. 2022. Salvia sclarea. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 16 May 2022.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Salvia sclarea. Published online. Accessed: May 16 2022.
Euro+Med 2006 onwards: Salvia sclarea in Euro+Med PlantBase – the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Published online. Accessed: 2015 Sept 13.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Müşk sürvəsi
čeština: Šalvěj muškátová
dansk: broget salvie
Deutsch: Muskatellersalbei
Ελληνικά: Σάλβια η ερυθρανθής , Αιγιάννης , Γοργογιάννης
English: Clary sage, European sage
suomi: Myskisalvia
français: Sauge sclarée
עברית: מרווה מרושתת
hornjoserbsce: Mušotowa želbija
magyar: Muskotályzsálya
日本語: クラリセージ
Nederlands: Muskaatsalie, scharlei
polski: Szałwia muszkatołowa
русский: Шалфей мускатный
slovenčina: šalvia muškátová
svenska: Muskatellsalvia
Türkçe: Misk ada çayı
українська: шавлія мускатна

Salvia sclarea, the clary or clary sage, is a biennial or short-lived herbaceous perennial in the genus Salvia. It is native to the northern Mediterranean Basin, along with some areas in north Africa and Central Asia. The plant has a lengthy history as an herb, and is currently grown for its essential oil.[1]


Salvia sclarea reaches 3 to 4 ft (0.91 to 1.22 m) in height, with thick square stems that are covered in hairs. The leaves are approximately 1 ft (0.30 m) long at the base, .5 ft (0.15 m) long higher on the plant. The upper leaf surface is rugose, and covered with glandular hairs. The flowers are in verticils, with 2-6 flowers in each verticil, and are held in large colorful bracts that range in color from pale mauve to lilac or white to pink with a pink mark on the edge. The lilac or pale blue corolla is approximately 1 in (2.5 cm), with the lips held wide open.[1] The cultivar S. sclarea 'Turkestanica' bears pink stems, petiolate leaves, and white, pink-flecked blossoms on spikes to 30 inches (76 cm) tall.[2]

Descriptions of medicinal use of the plant goes back to the writings of Theophrastus (4th century BCE), Dioscorides (1st century CE), and Pliny the Elder (1st century CE).

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 could adhere to the object and make it easy to remove. This practice is noted by Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal (1653), who referred to the plant as "clear-eye".[3]

It was used as in ingredient in wine and beer production. In 16th-century Germany elderflower infused clary was added to Rhine wines to make a more potent varietal known as Muscatel.[4]
Cultivated field in northeastern North Carolina

The distilled essential oil is used widely in perfumes and as a muscatel flavoring for vermouths, wines, and liqueurs.[1] It is also used in aromatherapy.[5]

It has also been used to induce labour and throughout labour to bring on contractions.

In the United States, large scale production is concentrated in northeastern North Carolina in the counties surrounding Bertie County.[6]



Clebsch, Betsy; Barner, Carol D. (2003). The New Book of Salvias. Timber Press. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-88192-560-9.
Mark Griffiths. Index of Garden Plants, 2nd American Edition. (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1995; ISBN 0-88192-246-3).
The Complete Herbal at Bibliomania, with link to entry for Clary, or More Properly Clear-Eye.
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs
Kintzios, Spiridon E. (2000). Sage: The Genus Salvia. CRC Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-90-5823-005-8.
Leffingwell, John C.; Stallings, John W.; Sellers, Franklin O.; Lloyd, Robert A. & Kane Jr., Franklin C. (1974). "Clary Sage Production in the Southeastern United States". 6th International Congress of Essential Oils.

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